Will State-gifted Cash-flow Disrupt Families?

June 3, 2023

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.” --Richard Bach (b.1936), an American writer of numerous works of fiction and non-fiction.

The male dominance in Indian households had been traditionally accepted. But, with brides getting educated and employed and bringing loads of dowry to the marriage table, there is an open question as to who is the boss in the household. But, as that question is still alive, a new element on the scene is introduced in Karnataka (and announced on 2/6/23) and there is going to be some drama involving mother-in-law and daughter(s)-in law as reflected in The Times of India report dated May 31, 2023 and excerpted below.

Who’s the woman head of the family? Atthe (mother-in-law), Sose (daughter-in law) may fight over ?2,000 (per month) incentive

Belagavi/Bengaluru: The proposed implementation of the state government's ‘Gruha Lakshmi’ scheme, offering a monthly subvention of Rs 2,000, is said to have inadvertently sparked conflicts between ‘atthe’ and ‘sose’ in several households.

Instances of disputes between saas-bahu have begun to surface as family members argue over who should receive the monthly cash incentive. The lack of clear eligibility criteria in the Congress’ election manifesto, where they pledged to grant the monthly subsidy to the woman head of the family, has further contributed to the confusion among households.

On Tuesday (30/5/23), when women and child development minister Laxmi Hebbalkar was queried on the issue, she said it’s a decision for the family to take. But later clarified that the money should ideally go to the mother-in-law as she is considered the female head as per Indian tradition. “She can share the money with the daughter-in-law, if she wishes,” Hebbalkar added.

Public works department minister Satish Jarkiholi also concurred with Hebbalkar, saying the money should go to the mother-in-law as she is the head of the family.

Women activists felt the grant should be shared between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law if there is no consensus on who is the female head of the family. “This way there won’t be problems in the family,” said C Nagaratna, a woman activist.

“It is very difficult to take sides on this issue. The government should give money to both mother-in-law and daughter-in-law,” said Kavitha D, another activist.

Hebbalkar said it is too early to talk about terms and conditions in the implementation of the scheme, as the department has yet to discuss the modalities. “Some clarity will emerge after Thursday’s cabinet meeting,’’ she added.


It is traditionally accepted that the husband is the Lord in his house. But, even before education and female advancement came on the scene, some men were under the thumb of their wives. But the daily climax was in the bedroom of the couple, apparently not to scandalize their family members, especially children. They could hear the goings-in the bedroom and dominant voice was of the man who, after suffering the onslaught of his violent wife would say loudly: “Is that enough for you today?” Nightly drama over, they, mainly children, went to bed dreaming of their turn after marriage.


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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • mohan prabhu, mangalore/canada

    Mon, Jun 05 2023

    This is further to my earlier comment. You may perhaps know that there was (may still exist) a system of inheritance where the woman is the head of the family and the property goes to the females. The husband , though the father of the children, is considered as a "visitor" and his property does not go to his children, male or female, but to his sister's. This was called MARUMAKKATAYAM system. It was the system especially among the Malabaris, as I remember from my Hindu Law classes at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London (England). Perhaps this system is now obsolete. In such a system, women's rights of property are predominant and they are the head of the household as it is run by them. The senior-most mata (matriarch) is the one to whom the bonanza from the Siddu Government should go.

  • Gautam Das, Bangalore

    Sun, Jun 04 2023

    The govt sponsored incentive for women should be given to the woman who owns the house or her husband or both jointly and the house registered in the name/ names.

  • Stany Jovin Menezes, Muscat

    Sun, Jun 04 2023

    To ensure clarity regarding eligibility for the ₹2,000 incentive, it is important for the government to clearly define the eligible recipients. If the intention is to provide the incentive to the woman head of the family, the government should establish specific criteria to determine the head of the household. Such clarity would help prevent any potential disputes among family members.

  • mohan prabhu, mangalore/canada

    Sat, Jun 03 2023

    Who will disentangle this double-headed monster? If it is a joint famil y, it is clear; the mother-in-law isthe head (father-in-law, only in name - naamkavaste); but in a nclear family, which is run by the man's wife,no by his mother, the wife would be de facto and de jure (by law) the head and the husband's mother is a dependant, She might indeed have her own means, even wealth, far outstripping that of her son - left for her by her deceased husband. Oh , what a nightmare for Siddu and Shiva!

  • Bengalurian, Bengaluru

    Sat, Jun 03 2023

    So, what do YOU suggest? Forget what TOI or Anjali Nimbalkar say or suggest. It is well-known that husband is generally considered the bread-winner but may not be necessarily running the household and handling the chores, including buying groceries, vegetables, fish or meat etc. True, there are large number of women who manage their houses on their own and in some casees, earn much more than the husband. But as for running the house, it is generally considered the responsibility of the wife. In some cases, the mother in law may be handling it but generally it is the daughter in law, because she is younger and much more smarter and better educated, who is the real BOSS of the house. TOI atthe-sose tussle is rubbish.

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