Wives may no longer be free cooks - The New Indian Express

Wives may no longer be free cooks

Published: 08th September 2012 08:19 AM

Last Updated: 08th September 2012 12:13 PM

Are you a homemaker fretting that your bank account does not get replenished at the first of every month?

Fret no more, for if the proposal mooted by the Union Women and Child Development Ministry is implemented, your husband could soon be legally mandated to pay you a fixed monthly sal-ary for doing daily household chores.

The Ministry is preparing a draft Bill that would entitle housewives a monthly income from their husbands.

The Bill is likely to be presented before Parliament within six months.

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath said the proposal was aimed at empowering women.

“A majority of women in India are involved in household chores after getting married but they do not get any salary for it. The socially accepted behaviour becomes a tragedy when a woman gets divorced or is widowed when she is left with nothing for survival. The Government is mulling to bring a law under which a husband will have to legally pay a definite amount to his wife from his salary and the Ministry has started preparing a draft in this regard,” Tirath told Express during a telephonic interview from New Delhi on Friday.

“When we are given an equal status by the Constitution, why is it that we have to accept the social condition that takes it for granted that women have to do the household chores? She is no slave and now we have to fight to bring about a change in thinking,” she added.

Since an estimated two-thirds of married Indian women are victims of domestic violence, Tirath believed this economic empowerment would be a welcome respite for them.

She also favoured for exempting this income from the tax net saying, “The income of the domestic help or cook is not taxed.

“When the housewife is performing all those chores and much more efficiently, why should her income be taxed?”

A section of housewives in Coimbatore welcomed the proposal.

“The proposal would benefit all women who let go of their jobs to run the household after marriage. Further, the twaddle that we are subjected to is essentially because the man realises that we are financially dependent,” says Geetha Sankar.

“Considering the number of roles a woman plays in the family I doubt if the husband would be left with anything if he had to pay for all her services.

“Being a housewife is almost like playing multitude roles in a corporate house as one has to juggle between being a peon by running to fetch things for husband and kids, a cleaner cleaning up after their mess, a secretary reminding them of their meetings and homework and the most daunting task of managing the accounts in the measly part of the salary that the husband gives. We should even be entitled to an annual increment,” argues Kavitha Srikanth, another homemaker.

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