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India – Survey to find out condition of women in mental asylums


New Delhi: The government has commissioned a survey to determine the condition of women who are abandoned by their family members in mental asylums to deprive them of property rights.
The Women and Child Development Ministry has asked National Commission for Women (NCW) to do a survey on the number of women in mental institutions despite being normal.
“I have asked NCW to give me a report on how many women are in asylums when they don’t need to be. There is a belief that many women are forced into mental asylums when their husbands die and they have property,” Women and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi told PTI.
“The family conspires to remove them in order to grab their property and the women are forced into mental asylums even when they are normal. So we want to check this out through our survey,” the minister said.
The first of its kind survey being done by the government since Independence would enquire into the lives of women in mental care institutions, including their physical well-being, hygiene and emotional care.
It would also closely monitor such asylums as they too become party to the crime in many cases, said sources in the NCW.
The sources informed there have been complaints about women forced into institutions and coerced into taking medication for mental disorders when they needed none.
The survey is on top of the priority list of the minister, though, it comes under the purview of social justice and empowerment.
As per 2011 census estimates, around 1.5 million people, which is 0.1 per cent of the population, suffer from intellectual disabilities, while 7.2 lakh have psychosocial disabilities such as schizophrenia or bipolar condition.
According to World Health Organisation’s Mental Health Atlas of 2011, the government spends a mere 0.06 per cent of its health budget on mental care and there are around 3,500 psychiatrists, amounting to one for every 3,43,000 people, in comparison to the US which has one for every 12,837 people.

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