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NRI Marriage Desertion
Centre revises purview of assistance for women
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, February 2
The Centre has revised the scheme to provide assistance to women who are married and then abandoned by their husbands overseas.

Official sources said the scheme would now be applicable to all women deserted in India or overseas within 15 years of the marriage.

Hitherto, only women who were divorced or deserted within two years of the marriage could seek assistance under the scheme.

According to an estimate, more than 30,000 Indian women have been abandoned by their Non-Resident Indian (NRI) husbands. Most of the abandoned women come from Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala - the states which send out a large number of migrants to the West. The husbands often disappear after pocketing fat dowries paid at weddings. 

Owing to social stigma, these women are unable to remarry. A prime reason why NRIs get away after duping their wives is that in their quest for sending their daughters abroad, most parents donít undertake enough verification. Once dumped, there is little these women can do.

The Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry recently undertook a review of the scheme and expanded its scope and eligibility criteria.

Sources said the scheme would not be available to a woman having a criminal case decided against her. A criminal charge of parental child abduction will not be a bar if the custody of the child has not been adjudicated upon. 

The woman might be domiciled in the country of her overseas Indian/foreign husband or in India at the time of filing the application for seeking the benefit.

Assistance will be provided to meet the initial legal and other costs, by the heads of Indian missions/posts overseas directly to the applicantís legal counsel empanelled with the Indian mission/post concerned, or through the Indian community associations, womenís organisations or NGOs acting on the womanís behalf in an overseas legal institution.

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