Few Takers for Arundhati Scheme in Kamrup (Metro)
Despite the government of Assam announcing the ambitious Arundhati gold scheme during the last year’s budget, there have been few takers for the scheme in Kamrup (Metro).
As part of the scheme, the government had announced to provide one tola (10 gram) gold, valued at around Rs 38,000 to brides belonging to various communities of Assam where it is customary to provide gold at the time of the wedding.
While presenting the 2019-20 Assam Budget, state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said, “The benefit under this scheme can be availed upon formal registration of the marriages under the Special Marriage (Assam) Rules, 1954 and will reach the beneficiaries right on time for the social marriage.”
The minister had further announced that the scheme will be limited to only the economically weaker sections, whose annual income is below Rs 5 lakhs. A total of Rs 300 crores was earmarked for this scheme.
However, the scheme has failed to take off in Kamrup (Metro). Deputy Commissioner Kamrup (Metro) Biswajit Pegu told G Plus that the implementation of the scheme began from December 2019 and the district administration has received only around 25 applications for the same.
“We haven’t received a lot of applications, we have got close to 25 applications till now which are currently being scrutinised,” said Pegu. Further, the DC said that the primary criterion for availing benefit under the scheme is that the marriage has to be registered and that the bride and the groom should be of legal marriageable age. Additionally, both the bride as well as the groom must have passed class 10 examination to avail the benefits under the scheme. However, no educational qualification criterion exists for the Adivasis and the tea tribe communities.
Some have blamed the low turnout of potential beneficiaries for the scheme on the lack of awareness created by the state government.
“The benefits of the scheme can prove to be highly useful for those who are planning to marry off their daughters especially from the economically weaker section of society. But the government should make more effort to promote the scheme among the masses. Otherwise it will merely remain impressive on paper,” remarked a Guwahatian.
As part of the scheme, the government would provide a financial assistance of Rs 30,000 to newly wedded brides for purchase of gold.
For this, the applicant should have solemnized her marriage on or after December 1, 2019 and the marriage should be registered on or after January 1, 2020.
In order to apply, the applicants have to fill a form after registering the marriage, which would then be scrutinised by authorities. Along with the form, the applicants have to submit documents pertaining to proof of age, marriage certificate issued by the marriage officer under Special Marriage Act, 1954, income certificate of parents of the applicant, bank account details of the beneficiary and a certificate issued by the gaon bura / mouzadar of the village stating that this is the first marriage of the applicant girl.
Further, once the application is accepted, the amount eligible under the scheme shall be transferred to the bank account of the applicant through Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) mode.
The scheme was mainly aimed at increasing the number of marriage registrations in Assam.
Earlier, while speaking in Guwahati, finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, had said that close to three lakh marriages take place in Assam every year but out of these only 50,000-60,000 are registered.
Meanwhile, Hailakandi district administration has also undertaken steps to ensure smooth implementation of the scheme in the district.