9 Oct 2017

Madhya Pradesh government announces Rs 2 lakh for person marrying a widow

Marry a widow and get Rs 2 lakh. That’s the Madhya Pradesh social justice department’s brainwave to promote widow remarriage. The catch is that the bride must be aged below 45 years.

The government said it was the first such initiative in the country, adding that it expected 1,000 widow marriages every year once the scheme kicked in. There are no figures for how many widow marriages happen now.

In July, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to frame a policy to encourage the marriage of widows. The MP government seems to have taken inspiration from the directive, and hand out a monetary incentive, perhaps the first since widow marriage was legalised in 1856. The MP government is set- ting aside Rs 20 crore a year for the scheme to begin with. As per the draft, anyone willing to marry a widow aged between 18 and 45 years will get Rs 2 lakh. The proposal is ready to be sent to the finance department, after which it will be placed before the cabinet. Officials believe it will come into effect within three months.

To ensure that the scheme isn’t misused, there are some conditions — the most important being that it should be the man’s first marriage. Second, the couple has to get the marriage registered in the district collectorate, and proof issued by gram panchayats and local bodies will not be accepted.

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