The Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi took a step towards recognizing and treating single women as independent entities. The government's draft national policy on women has suggested several enabling factors such as legislation, economic reform and other measures to facilitate the process.
The women and child development ministry has revised the policy. It's likely to address concerns such as taboos that surround single women, including social ostracization and institutional indifference.
According to the 2011 census data, single women form 21% of India's population and are close to 73 million in number. These include unmarried, divorced, separated and widowed women.
A ministry official said India was headed the US way in the next 10 years. In US, single women outnumbered married ones for the first time in 2009. It is important that the government recognizes this, he said.
Already there has been staggering growth in this sector with a 40% increase in the population of single women in India between 2001 and 2011. The ministry official said government policy must prepare for this growth by empowering single women through skill development and economic incentives.
The policy is also likely to address issues related to widows and universal health benefits for all women. The draft policy is expected to be made public on Tuesday. It will act as a roadmap over the next 15-20 years for dealing with women's issues, ranging from discrimination against women to the expectations of the new emerging aspirational woman, an official from ministry said.
"The policy will look into the entire continuum. It will be placed for public consultation with all stakeholders including NGOs, civil societies among others," he said.