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India: Homemakers may get monthly salary from husbands

Sep 10, 2012

Housewives in India may soon start getting monthly salaries from their husbands with the government mulling a policy proposal which would make it mandatory for men to share a certain percentage of their income with their wives who stay back and do household chores.

The proposal is being considered by India's Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry for socio-economic empowerment of homemakers.


"We have got a survey conducted on this theme and are planning to hold more consultations about this plan, which at present is in consultation stage... Whenever we ask housewives what they do, most of them say they do nothing. So we feel that a mechanism can be devised to quantify and calculate the value of work that they do for their families. It will give a more socially empowered identity to these women," WCD minister Krishna Tirath said.


She said the idea, mooted by some NGOs, would also be discussed in a meeting to be held with ministers of different states on 17 to 18 September. "The work that women do at home is also economic activity but it goes unaccounted. If children are sent to a creche, then money has to be spent. If somebody from outside does cooking or any other work, money has to be spent. And the quality of work of homemakers cannot even be compared with others," Tirath said.


The minister said if a portion of a husband's income is allocated as wife's share, it is likely to be spent on better food for children, on their education and the overall quality of standard of living of that household.


"Working in homes is economic activity and if this is recognised, it will give us a truer reflection of what the GDP of our country is. It will also help us know more accurate figure of the rate of real unemployment in the country," Tirath said.

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