From January 2010, marriageable girls in Assam would get financial help worth ‘one tola’ (10 gram) of gold from the Assam government, said Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati on Wednesday.

“The scheme will be launched in January 2020. One will have to register the marriage under the Special Marriage Act 1954 to avail the scheme,” he said.

On Tuesday, the state cabinet approved the ‘Arundhati’ scheme, which was announced in the state budget 2019-20, he added. The scheme is expected to cost the state Rs 800 crore a year.

However, the girl will have to be at least matriculate and above 18 years of age. It will be applicable to girls belonging to families with annual income less than Rs 5 lakh. At the time of marriage, the groom would have to be above 21 years.

“As it’s difficult to give gold, the government has decided to pay Rs 30,000 to the girl. The price is calculated on the average price of gold in the market in FY20,” he said. The government might increase the amount depending on the average price of gold, he added.

He said the government wanted to encourage registration of marriages through the scheme. “Most marriages are not registered and the brides often land in problem in case of a legal issue post-marriage. The scheme will encourage people to register marriages, which will empower the women,” he said.

“We have also tried to link the scheme with the state’s population policy to aim better social goal,” he said.

He, however, said the educational criteria would not be applicable to girls of tea tribes and the Adivasis.

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