Like the oscillating poverty line, it appears that the concept of family is also variable. Though ‘family’ has been a fundamental idea sustaining our welfare nation, the state government, apparently unsure of its precise description, wants to give it a clear definition. It has appointed a five-member committee of senior babus to prepare a suitable definition and they have a whole year to do it in.
There is no unanimity over the definition of family even though various departments have been implementing schemes meant for them, says a government order issued recently. The definition of a family is used as basic criteria for the public distribution system, public health schemes, income certificates etc, and various departments have been using their own definitions to disburse benefits.
Now, the state feels that consensus over the definition is important, as it will be linked in future with ‘Aadhaar’, or the unique identification number (UID). And in a meeting of the apex committee for the distribution of UID cards, chaired by Chief Secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad, it was decided to appoint a committee to define family.
The committee will be headed by additional chief secretary (public health department) Jayantkumar Banthia. Members will include principal secretary Bhagwan Sahai (food & civil supplies dept), principal secretary Manukumar Srivastava (urban development), and secretary Sudhir Thakre (rural development). Rajesh Agarwal, secretary, information technology department, will be the committee’s member secretary.
The affiliates have been carefully chosen as they deal with various schemes for the benefit of families and individuals. The committee will study the definitions being used by the various departments, and lay down a standard definition. It will co-relate the definition with the UID card for future registration of cards.
A family is…
According to the revenue department, a family consists of father, mother and dependent children (irrespective of age). For distribution of food grains and other essential commodities, a family could be father, mother and even married children with grandchildren. The revenue department, entrusted with the distribution of monetary benefits under the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojna and other such schemes, discontinues the benefit for dependent children once they attain the age of 18 years.