Dr Jitendra Singh makes landmark announcement of Maternity Leave for 'surrogate' mothers

NEW DELHI: In a landmark announcement with far-reaching social and economic implications, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today declared the government decision of granting Maternity Leave for "surrogate" mothers, who happen to be government employees, on the same lines and of the same duration as available to child - bearing mothers.

Pertinent to mention that only last year the Modi Government had doubled the duration of the maternity leave for female government employees from 12 to 24 weeks, but the surrogate mothers were not entitled to this facility.

Another significant announcement made by Dr Jitendra Singh pertains to the entitlement of a "divorced daughter" for family pension even though the divorce judgment has not been passed before the death of the pensioner parent, but the divorce case has been filed.

Addressing a press conference at North Block here today, Dr Jitendra Singh described in detail the contours and the spirit behind this announcement. He said, while the Modi Government, in the last nearly four years, had strived to bring gender neutrality and gender justice for all sections of society, the decisions announced today were also inspired by the spirit to live up to this objective.

He said, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget presented recently, had sought to acknowledge the issues pertaining to salaried class, elder citizens / pensioners, and to that extent also, the DoPT /ARPG decisions announced today would be a step further to achieve this goal.

Describing the decision of granting maternity leave to surrogate mothers as a futuristic one, Dr Jitendra Singh said, we cannot remain oblivious of the emerging trends in the society. With increasing number of working women opting to become surrogate mothers, he said, it is in the fitness of things to provide for them the same facility and provision as provided to the mother who actually delivers the child. Ultimately, he said, the surrogate mother is the one normally expected to rear the child and bring up the child. She should not be allowed to suffer a disadvantage simply because she has not herself delivered the child, he said.

"Ease of living" is the Mantra prescribed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said Dr Jitendra Singh, and unless there is ease of living and certain comfort level available for government employees, including the women employees, they would not be able to perform without distraction in the interest of the administration and for the service of the nation.

The decision regarding the divorced daughters of a government pensioner, Dr Jitendra Sing said, is motivated by in extreme sense of sensitivity, with the motive to redeem the plight of many a hapless divorced women who are abandoned by the family of their in-laws and at the same time, have nothing to fall back upon from the parental side.

Union Secretary DoPT Ajay Mittal, Union Secretary ARPG K.V. Eapen and other senior officers from the Ministry of Personnel were present during the Press Conference.

 

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