Sandeep Ashar TNN 
Mumbai: The state is seeking to respect a woman’s right to use her own surname, set up a separate censor board for TV and protect women employed in late-night jobs. These are some highlights of the new policy on women, which will be officially unveiled on Friday, 12 years after the state’s previous policy was released.
The state would issue a directive stating that it would not insist on a woman using her husband’s or father’s surnames in government procedures and schemes. Action would be initiated against officials violating the directive.
Objecting to the “indecent” or “disrespectful” portrayal of women in serials, films and the media, the policy highlights the need for regulatory mechanisms, including a censor board for television. About 50% of members on such a censor board would be women. The members would include social
workers and women from NGOs. The head of the censor board would not be a person from the film, television or advertisement fraternity, the policy controversially states.
The policy also seeks special guidelines for the safety of women employed in late-night jobs, while advocating strict action against acts of moral policing. There would be stricter punishment for those involved in acid attacks.
Laws are to be amended to help women in live-in relationships claim maintenance after separation. Divorce laws would be changed to reduce the separation period from two years to one in cases of mutual consent.
Stricter punishment would be given to doctors guilty of illegal abortions and pre-natal sex determination.
The government would make it mandatory for educational institutions to hold karate workshops once in three months for girl students. To arrest the dropout ratio, it would lower the interest rate on loans for higher education for girls and extend the time for repayment. Schools would have to compulsorily appoint a woman physical training teacher. Sanitary pads would be made available to students at concessional rates.
The policy seeks to improve the welfare of various disadvantaged sections, like sex workers and transgenders. The state aims to offer residential accommodation to out-of-work transgenders. A welfare board and census are proposed for transgenders, who would be issued pink ration cards.
OTHER FEATURES OF POLICY P rime-time serials to have women-related messages and helpline numbers | Women’s health index to be charted | Sexeducation in school curricula | Govt dept to use 10% funds for women’s development | Terminal care centres for elderly women | Special girls’ room mandatory in schools | Toilets every 0.5km