Rajasthan caste certificates to list mother’s name also, says top official
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan government will begin listing the mother’s name in caste certificates issued by the government to ensure that children of single women do not lose out, a senior state government official said on Tuesday, announcing the end of the decades-old practice of only mentioning the father’s name on caste certificates.
“This will help children of women who are divorced or separated. There are also children who do not have details of their father and face difficulties in getting these certificates. This is why we have decided to begin issuing caste certificates in the name of the mother as well,” Rajasthan’s social justice and empowerment department secretary Samit Sharma said.
Sharma said Rajasthan may be the country’s first state to take this step. “The new provisions will empower children and women socially,” Sharma said.
The change was proposed a few months ago when a non-profit that helps women, Mahila Punarvas Samuh Samiti, came across an instance where a woman, separated from her husband, could not get the other backward classes (OBC) certificate for her children with her name on it.
“At our centre, a woman, a mother of two, approached us with an issue that her children cannot be admitted in school under OBC quota. She was separated from her husband, but schools were asking for the father’s name. There are many such cases where single mothers have to face such struggles. We have to stop such gender bias,” said Renuka Pamecha, activist and secretary of the NGO which approached the government for a change in format five months ago.
Social activist Kavita Srivastav said this was an excellent initiative by the state government, but the key would be the effective implementation with no harassment to women. “Awareness about this must be made from the panchayat to the district level,” she said.
Officials said the government will also issue income and asset certificates to divorced women. “This means that if the woman is entitled to any allowance or property then it will be counted in the income of the woman. In cases where the details of the husband are not available, the income of other family members will be factored into a decision to give the certificate for income and assets,” one official said.
In Rajasthan, the social justice and welfare department issued around 20 lakh caste certificates and 2 lakh income and asset certificates in the last financial year.
Caste certificates are used to get benefits of reservation in professional courses, competitive exams, admission to educational institutes, and public employment. Similarly, the economically weaker section (EWS) certificate leads to benefits on account of government schemes including those related to residential schools, post-matric scholarships and coaching.