BENGALURU: After Directorate of Minorities found fake beneficiaries claiming government grants meant for brides from minority communities under the Shaadi Bhagya scheme, officials from the department are now ordered to personally attend the weddings of claimants before crediting their amounts. They have been ordered to enter the weddings and take photographs of the couple getting married as evidence of authenticity to lay claim for the grant of `50,000 under the state government scheme.
And they have at least one mouth-watering sop to do that: The wedding feast, which often includes delicious, aromatic biryani.The Shaadi Bhagya Scheme was launched in 2013 when Siddaramiah became the Chief Minister. Financial assistance is given to the minorities hailing from poor financial background including those from Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Parsi communities.Under Shaadi Bhagya (Bidaai scheme), Directorate of Minorities gives `50,000 to the bride. In the last five years, 66,010 brides have received `50,000 each for their wedding, and the state government has spent more than `330 crore while at it.
“The scheme is for the poor brides. But in many cases, including in Bengaluru Urban, Kalburgi, Belagavi, with elected representatives using their influence with official’s hand in glove, many non-eligible brides have received these grants. There have been instances wherein, the wedding did not even take place, and yet the money was released,’’ sources from the Directorate of Minorities told The New Indian Express.
Now to prevent such irregularities, officials are told to attend the weddings.
“Those wanting to avail benefits have to submit applications before us, at least seven days before the wedding along with the invitation card. The taluk official concerned from our department will attend the wedding to check if it is a real wedding or not. Our officer will click photos of the bride, groom, venue on his phone as proof, and the same will be uploaded in our system,’’ said Akram Pasha, Director, Directorate of Minorities.
It is not just the wedding, they have also brought some changes in releasing funds. “Earlier we used to release amounts directly to the accounts of the brides after six months of the marriage. But as the money goes to the bride, the groom or his family member might pressurise her or misuse funds, so we decided to credit accounts of the bride’s parents who spend money at the wedding,’’ Pasha said. Also, to ensure the poor getting money, one has to submit the BPL card. “We were taking only Aadhaar for age proof and address proof; but now BPL card is also mandatory,’’ he said.