Social activist and Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak today said he will propose Parliament to pass a Bill to introduce a welfare scheme for widows shunned by their families.
MP Mahadeorao Shiwankar had proposed a bill for the protection, welfare and maintenance of widows in 2007 but it was not tabled in Parliament.
"Now I am modifying the bill after consulting experts, lawyers and judges. After the next Lok Sabha elections I will ask the government to present it in the Parliament," Pathak told reporters here.
The bill to be proposed by him will seek to establish welfare board by the state for the welfare of the neglected, abandoned and destitute women who have lost their husbands, besides subsistence allowance of Rs 2000 per month, free accommodation, educational and medical facilities, vocational training and employment for them.
Supreme Court had directed National Legal Service Authority last year to seek Sulabh International's help for the rehabilitation of the destitute widows in Vrindavan who are forced to live a life of isolation, dejection and poverty.
Pathak said from his experience of working for the widows he had found that they continue to face enormous sufferings and hardships which can only be changed by drafting a law for their all-round maintenance.
The widows live under pathetic conditions without any proper food, medical and hygienic facilities in ashrams or homes run either by the government or NGOs.
Sulabh International has now started providing pension, food, health and other facilities to the Vrindavan widows besides giving them vocational training and employment.
"We will raise funds for this purpose through the private sector. We can approach philanthropists like Bill Gates and Azim Premji," Pathak said.
His team is now working on a survey to estimate the number of widows living in holy towns like Vrindavan, Mathura and Varanasi.
"Even now widows come to these places but I must say that the numbers have reduced," he added.