The Assam Cabinet has approved the ‘Arundhati’ scheme which promises to give ‘one tola gold’ free of cost to brides, who are at least matriculate and attains 18 years of age.
The scheme aims to boost girls’ education as well as to stop their early marriage.
However, the government has removed the educational qualification criteria for girls belonging to tea tribes and Adivasi community as educational infrastructure in areas where they live is not sufficient.
Informing this on Wednesday, Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the state cabinet on Tuesday approved the ‘Arunshati’ which was mentioned in the state budget 2019-20.
He said the scheme is expected to cost the state exchequer an amount of Rs. 800 crore per annum.
“The scheme will be launched in January 2020. One has to register the marriage under the Special Marriage Act 1954 to avail the benefit of the scheme,” Sarma said.
The scheme will be applicable to girls belonging to the families whose annual income is not more than Rs. 5 lakh.
The minister said the scheme also makes it mandatory that the bride is married to a groom who is above 21 years of age.
“It is difficult to give ‘gold’. Hence, the government has decided to give Rs. 30,000 to the bride instead of the gold,” minister Sarma said.
“The price is calculated on the average price of gold in the market in this fiscal,” he said adding that later the government might increase the amount depending on the average price of gold.
He said the government also wants to encourage registration of marriages in the state through the scheme.
“Most of the marriages are not registered here and the brides often land in problem in case of a legal issue after the marriage.”
“The scheme will encourage people to go for legal marriages which will empower the women,” he said adding that the launch of the scheme is not related to any political gimmick.
“We have also tried to link the scheme with the state’s population policy thereby aiming better social goal,” Sarma added.