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The women and child development ministry Monday mooted various proposals to better the lives of widows in the country, including raising the pension to Rs. 1,500 a month.

Releasing a study on the condition of widows in the Braj area of Uttar Pradesh here, D.K. Sikri, secretary of the ministry, said the ministry was planning to raise the pension of widows from the paltry Rs.200-550 to Rs.1,500 a month. If she has children to support, the widow’s pension amount should be Rs.2,500 per month.

The study, conducted by the Guild for Services with the support of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (Unifem), said that though 70 percent of the widows have heard of the pension scheme, only a quarter of them received the money.

Eighty-two percent of the widows said they knew about the scheme but didn’t know how to apply for it.

Sikri said: ‘We are thinking of special bridge courses for the widows, like vocational courses, which will empower them to earn a decent living for themselves, especially for those in the age group of 18-35.’

‘Convergence of welfare schemes to benefit the widows is also important. For instance, the women and child development ministry has recently introduced a scheme for the health welfare of adolescent girls and women and that can be extended to widows,’ he added.

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