A marriage in India sans gold ornament is ‘incomplete’ for most brides and even their parents. Such is the importance of the metal in the country since time immemorial. The Assam Government, too, had realised this emotional bonding of a bride with gold ornaments and accordingly announced the Arundhati Swarna Yojana in its 2019-2020 Budget under the then Finance Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Dr Sarma had then driven home the auspiciousness quotient of the metal to assist and uplift the economic standard of many of the economically challenged Assamese households. He announced an assistance of ₹ 30,000 for the bride to buy gold in the open market upon registration of her marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Later, the amount was increased to ₹ 40,000.
This has linked the likes of Rehena Parbin, Rubina Zaman, Bobita Bora, Forbhina Choudhury and Nitu Sarkar to a common thread. They are all beneficiaries of this scheme of the Government of Assam, besides Dharitri Kalita of Guwahati.
“I am thankful to the Government of Assam for conceiving such a scheme. For poor people like us, a tola of gold means a lot,” Dharitri told Asom Barta.
Gita Devi of Sinabari village in Goalpara is another beneficiary. Her father is a farmer. “We could not have thought of buying gold had this scheme not been there. It is not only an ornament for me but also a sense of security,” she told Asom Barta. She had applied under the Scheme after registering her marriage and received the amount after nearly three months.
Like Dhartri and Gita, thousands of women in Assam have benefited from this scheme. As on June 13, 2022, the Revenue and Disaster Management Department, the nodal department, has sanctioned ₹ 44.47 crore to 11,119 brides since the launch of the Scheme. The highest number of beneficiaries is from Darrang district with 1,184, while the lowest is from West Karbi Anglong at 35.
The total application received by the Department is 28,108 as on June 13, 2022.
Kakoli Bezbarua of Kharjara Village is a prospective beneficiary. Having registered her marriage with Anil Barman, she applied for her share of benefit in the month of May. Her father is a hand-cart puller. “I came to know of the Scheme at the office of the Registrar of Marriage,” she told Asom Barta indicating that the State Government has tried its best to reach out to prospective beneficiaries to secure their future, to some extent. “The day I received my marriage registration certificate, we applied for it.”