Children of single mothers, who are divorced, widowed or estranged, may no longer have to mention their father's name on school and college forms.
Institutes will need to make changes to their forms to accept the mother's name as the head of family, says one of the many provisions in the new women's policy to be presented by women and child minister Varsha Gaikwad to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan at a Women's Day function to be held at Pune on Saturday.
Other proposed provisions include construction of toilets on highways at every 50 kilometres or a distance of one hour. Also, considering the large number of women who are over 65 years old and live alone - either unmarried, widowed or divorced - the state plans to bring in a special pension scheme for them.
In addition to these, largely-ignored sections including the transgenders, devdasis and tamasha dancers will be given special benefits. This is the third policy that the government has come up with, after revising the first one brought out in 1994 and the second in 2001.
"Times have changed and women are heading and running the show in many households. In such cases, children should be allowed to officially take on the name and surname of the mother. Although this is officially allowed in many schools, it is not implemented everywhere," a government official explained.
For young girls, the government will appeal to banks to lower the interest rates for education loans.
"We have proposed to form a welfare board for groups that have been ignored, such as transgenders, where issues related to their health and education will be dealt with. We will strengthen existing rules for devdasis and float support schemes for tamasha dancers who usually end their careers at 40 years of age," the official added.
Former mayor and member of national women's commission, Nirmala Prabhavalkar, termed the revised policy 'encouraging' and said 'ignored sections had found ground'.