In a move that may impact the cycle of debt that many families get into on account of high wedding expenses, the Mysuru district administration has launched a scheme that would conduct mass marriages for the poor.
Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru district C Shikha launched the "Shubaramba" scheme on Saturday, saying that the district administration would conduct mass marriage ceremonies every three months to benefit the poor.
"What we noticed is that poor families were spending close to 5 to 6 lakhs, which is a lot of money, on weddings. To meet the costs of the marriages they were taking loans. Unable to pay the loan, many families resort to extreme steps,” she told The News Minute.
In an effort to create awareness about this, the district administration is also highlighting the ideals of people like Kuvempu, a renowned Kannada novelist, who got his children wedded in a simple ceremony.
"We are collecting messages from prominent people, who advocate simple marriage. Lavish expenditure on marriage is also one kind of evil. If this program functions well, dowry problem can be prevented too." Shikha said.
Anyone wishing to register for a mass marriage can obtain applications from the local taluk office. This would allow the district administration to verify the ages of the man and woman and ensure that child marriages do not take place. She added that divorced or widowed men and women could also apply for the scheme.
"Once the application is filed, we will do a backdrop check to avoid any kind of irregularities,” she said.
The first mass marriage ceremony is scheduled be held in a wedding hall in Nanjangud on November 29. Each couple would be allowed to invite a total of around 20-25 family members, for which invitations would be printed in advance. For the marriage a saree and a “mangalya” (mangalsutra) would be given. The cost per couple would be around Rs.15,000.
"We are trying to raise the money from corporate houses, shopkeepers, factories and from individuals, who would like to contribute to this in kind. Some of them also choose to fund one single wedding," she told The News Minute.
People who wish to contribute can approach taluk officials or even contact the Deputy Commissioner's office, which has a cell dedicated "Shubaramba" cell.
Shikha also said that all government schemes applicable to marriages would be implemented by the district administration. "If anybody wants to go for an inter-caste marriage, government schemes will be implemented,” Shikha said.
She explained that a fixed deposit of Rs.10,000 will be put in the name of the girl according to government's ‘Adarsh Vivaha’ programme. Under the same programme, a Scheduled caste or Scheduled tribe couple get married, then the bride would get Rs.50,000, " Shikha told TNM.