Karnataka governmentâ€™s scheme of providing monetary support to Brahmin brides has caused a political stir. While the government says that the two schemes, Arundhati and Maitrei, have been launched to assist the impoverished people of the Brahmin community, the opposition in the state alleged that the scheme is regressive.
The Karnataka State Brahmin Development Board has announced two new schemes for the Brahmin brides in the state. Under Arundhati Scheme, the family of the bride will be given Rs 25,000 for the marriage. In another scheme called Maitreyi, the board will be offering Rs 3 lakh to the bride if she marries a priest: Archakras and Purohits. Under the Arundhati scheme, as many as 550 families will receive the amount and nearly 25 families will benefit from the Maitreyi Scheme.
Speaking to TNM, HS Sachidananda, the director of the board said, â€śWe have set some restrictions on the people who can avail these schemes. The family has to produce a certificate citing they are from the economically backward class. Moreover, they have to also belong to the (Brahmin) community,â€ť he said.
â€śMarriage is a personal choice and incentivizing certain types of marriages over others is regressive and anti-women,â€ť said YB Srivatsa, the National Campaign Head for Youth wing of Congress. He questioned why is marriage the only area of a woman's life the Brahmin Development Board can think of. â€śWhy can't they give loans for Brahmin women entrepreneurs? Why not fund the education of poor Brahmin girls,â€ť he questioned. He further added that the board is making a mockery of itself.
The scheme has placed several restrictions about who can avail the scheme. Sachidananda adds that apart from the aforementioned restrictions, it has to be the bride and groomâ€™s first marriage and the union should be registered. â€śThe couple has to be married for at least five years,â€ť he added. The couples can register online on the website of the board.
According to the caste census of 2018, the Brahmin population of Karnataka came up to 3% of the total state population.
When quizzed about the reason behind the launch of these schemes, Sachidananda said, â€śWe want to uplift the people who come from poor economic backgrounds, especially the priests. They have a difficult time surviving because of work uncertainty. They can use the money we give and set up a small business to earn their living.â€ť
The Karnataka state government's fiscal deficit for the year is targeted at Rs 46,072 crore. The state is reeling under financial pressure after flood relief funds as well as GST input from the Union government is still pending. The Chief Minister, in December 2020, said a fiscal setback of Rs 25,000 to 30,000 crore and might persist until next budget.
The launch of these schemes was first reported by Deccan Herald