1,000 couples to tie knot under govt scheme

Karnataka govt announced a new scheme in which 100 government-controlled temples will organise mass marriages on April 26 and May 24.

Karnataka on Thursday announced a new scheme in which 100 government-controlled temples will organise mass marriages where couples entering wedlock will be given benefits worth Rs 55,000, including an 8-gram gold tali (mangalsutra).

“The mass marriages for 1,000 couples will be held on April 26 and May 24 next year,” Muzrai Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary announced at a news conference.

“Couples have to register to get married at the temple 30 days in advance and the list of couples will be officially notified,” he said. 

Through the temple, the couple will be given an 8-gram gold tali worth about Rs 40,000.

“After the marriage, the bride will get Rs 10,000 and the bridegroom Rs 5,000 to meet expenses. The money will be deposited into their bank accounts,” Poojary said, adding that deputy commissioners of every district will be responsible for purchasing the gold chains for the weddings.

While mass marriages are common, this is the first such effort by the government. “We want to target the poor. Having said that, there’s no bar on anyone — BPL or APL — from availing this scheme,” the minister said.  

The government expects about 1,000 couples to get married next year, which will cost Rs 5.5 crore.

“There are 190 temples under Group A. These are financially-sound temples. Of them, we have chosen 100 for the mass marriage scheme, including Banashankari, Kollur Mookambika, Kukke Subrahmanya and so on,” Poojary said. 

The Muzrai department has come up with 24 criteria for couples to be eligible to participate in the mass marriage.

“Families of the bride and the groom should approve of the marriage. Family members should attend the marriage along with witnesses,” Poojary said. “Also, this scheme is not open to second marriages,” he added.

The scheme rivals the Bidaai or Shaadi Bhagya, launched by the previous Congress government in which Rs 50,000 one-time marriage assistance is given to minority women. “Don’t ask me about that scheme,” Poojary said, “because I’m the minister for Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments.”

Panel to review

The government has formed a committee under Yakshagana Academy chairperson M N Hegde to look into revising the honorarium paid to Yakshagana artistes and other benefits like insurance.

“Several temples organised Yakshagana fairs, but artistes have complained that they aren’t paid well and their working conditions are poor. The committee has been asked to submit a report.”



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