Updated: June 30, 2015 1:09:08 am
The Gujarat government has amended the rules for inheriting fair price shops, doing away with a clause that a married woman can inherit the shop only if she had a daughter.
“The previous clause that a married daughter can inherit the shop only if she had a daughter seemed very discriminating. Why should a woman be deprived of her rights if she had a son, was the reasoning taken into consideration at the time of making new changes,’’ said Mukesh Modi, deputy secretary in the civil supply department. The department maintained it has also come across cases where daughters had made demands, but it were the sons who got the inheritance.
“Such cases are very few. May be less than 10 per cent. But, the question here is about the rights of the female child,’’ said Modi. There is still a rider that a married daughter should have been living within 3 km radius of the shop location but this clause is applicable even to males, he added.
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The department is already working towards placing the management of the FPS in the hands of women under a new policy that ensures priority to women self-help groups for owning and running several thousand new shops that are likely to come up in the state for implementation of National Food Security Act 2013. This new rule is likely to empower women in rural areas, which have over 13,000 FPS in some 17,000 talukas across the state.
The department added that other rules like an adopted child being allowed to inherit the ownership have not been changed and in every case the department has been taking the consent of all the siblings while passing on the ownership rights to the next generation. And, it is this practice that will ensure that new changes will get effectively implemented.
The policy laying out the inheritance rules was first formed in 2003, where the FPS stays within the family. On June 23 the changes regarding rights of the daughter were made and a government resolution was passed. “Equal rights for daughters has been our representation for a long time now,’’ said Prahlad Modi, president of Gujarat Fair Price Shop Owners Association. “We had come across many cases where elderly owners or daughters were harassed and lured into selling the shops in cases where the couple was either childless or had a daughter,’’ he added. Modi maintained that in Ahmedabad alone seven cases were reported recently.
Earlier in February, the department had passed a resolution that educated women and self help group’s will be given first priority in issuing license when it comes to set up new shops under National Food Security Act 2013. Gujarat has been the stage of conducting survey on how many new shops and other infrastructure will be required for effective implementation of the new act that ensures food for all.
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