No shagun money paid to married girls in 9 months
Muktsar, November 26
Four months after coming to power in March last year, the Congress had increased the shagun amount under the Ashirwad scheme from Rs 15,000 to Rs 21,000. However, girls who have got married in the past about nine months are awaiting the benefit.
Under this scheme, the state government promises to provide money to the family of a girl belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC), Backward Classes (BC) or economically weaker sections of society. The amount is transferred directly into the beneficiary’s bank account or that of her family. The state government has not disbursed the shagun money after February this year.
Jagmohan Singh, District Welfare Officer, said, “In Muktsar district, about 1,700 beneficiaries are awaiting the payment. The situation is the same in other districts. In the first week of every month, we send the details of eligible persons to the head office, which is tasked with transferring the amount.”
Barinder Singh, District Welfare Officer, Fazilka, confirmed that the beneficiaries in that district were awaiting the benefit for the past about nine months.
In its 2017 election manifesto, the Congress had promised to increase the amount to Rs 51,000.
Repeated attempts to contact Indu Malhotra, Director, Welfare Department, and Bindu Walia, Additional Director, proved futile.
Meanwhile, inter-caste couples in the state are awaiting benefit of Rs 50,000, promised by the Centre and state governments.
The inter-caste marriage benefit scheme had been introduced to abolish “caste consciousness and untouchability” by contributing on a 50:50 basis.
Initially, a sum of Rs 25,000 was decided to be given to the beneficiary couple. In 2011, the amount was doubled to Rs 50,000.
Barinder Singh, District Welfare Officer, Fazilka, said, “The beneficiaries have not got the money after 2010. Some funds were released once, but that too were almost negligible.”
Jagsir Singh, District Welfare Officer, Mansa, said, “In our district, the beneficiaries have not got the money for the past about two years.”