Women's rights groups on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide immediate cover of social security measures, including cash transfers, for sections of urban and rural women in view of the nationwide lockdown to combat coronavirus.
They also sought similar steps for daily wagers, informal sector workers and migrant labourers.
The demands were made by eight women's rights groups, including All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) and All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA), in a joint memorandum.
The groups expressed "deep concern" over the impact of COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant complete lockdown on single women, widows, female-headed families, migrant workers and women in the informal sector. "You are well aware that this section of society has little social and community support and belongs to the most economically vulnerable sections of society. Women from these sections are not protected by any social security laws. "They are in very serious financial condition due to the unusual situation developed after the COVID-19 outbreak," the memorandum said.
The groups sought immediate social security measures, including cash transfers of Rs 5,000 each to all the above sections of urban and rural women. They asked for paid leave and advance wages for daily wagers, informal sector workers and migrant labourers.
In the memorandum, the groups said provisions should be made for doorstep delivery of free rations, vegetables, milk, drinking water, soaps, sanitisers to all vulnerable sections of society. Loan recoveries and instalments should be deferred for at least six months and advance pension of two months be transferred to eligible women, among others, the memorandum stated. On Tuesday, Modi had announced a complete lockdown of the entire country for 21 days in an unprecedented drastic measure to break the chain of transmission of coronavirus.
The number of coronavirus cases in the country climbed to 649 on Thursday while the death toll rose to 13, according to the Union Health Ministry.
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