Brides in Assam who are 18 years and above, hold at least a matriculation degree, and whose annual family income (combined income of the bride and her parents) is not beyond Rs 5 lakh, will now get Rs 30,000 as assistance from the state government so that they can purchase gold during marriage. This innovative scheme named Arundhati has been planned to address the problem of child marriage and empower women.
Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the scheme has been approved by the state cabinet and is slated to come into effect from January 1, 2020, according to a report in India Today. The scheme will cost the state exchequer Rs 800 crore annually.
“Assam government has decided in our budget that we will give one tola (10g) of gold to the bride if a marriage is solemnised and registered,” Sharma said.
“Now any marriage which will be registered, the bride will get Rs 30,000 from the state government to purchase gold. But, to have benefit from the scheme, your minimum age has to be 18 years (for brides) and 21 years (for bridegrooms) and you have to be a matriculate,” he added.
Benefits under the scheme can be availed when a marriage is formally registered under the Special Marriage (Assam) Rules, 1954.
Sharma said that the scheme emphasises on establishing the “correct age of marriage” in Assam and also create “a society full of educated boys and girls”.
The scheme has been devised in such a way that assistance reaches the beneficiaries right in time for a social marriage. Talking about the investment in gold, Sharma pointed out that gold has a value that goes up and that it is a security.
The benefits of the scheme will be confined to the first marriage only.
The minimum educational qualification has been initially relaxed for the tea garden and adivasi tribes.
In Assam, on an average, 3 lakh marriages take place every year and out of them, only 50,000-55,000 marriages have been registered.