Newlywed couples in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district, in addition to silver rings, saris, shirts and sweets, will be starting their journey together with a brand-new toilet, courtesy of the local administration.
“We believe that just helping in their marriage doesn’t complete our responsibilities towards them. So we have also decided to construct toilets in the houses of the couples under the Swachh Bharat Mission,” said Abhijeet Pachori, district women empowerment officer, adding that the couples would also be provided assistance under the Mukhyamantri Swarojgar Yojana (self-employment scheme) in addition to equipments such as tricycles, wheelchairs, crutches and hearing aids, depending on their disability.
The mass-engagement ceremony in Betul for specially-abled people was the second of its kind — the first was held in Hashangabad district.
The ceremony was a part of the state government’s Project Milan, under which 75 specially-abled couples were engaged in a ceremony on February 5 and will be married in the presence of dignitaries between February 22 and 28. Of the 75, both partners in 35 were specially-abled.
“We decided to start this initiative...for the upliftment of special-abled people of society who are often neglected by their own family members. In most of the cases, their family members don’t even care for their education, let alone their marriage. So we decided to organise wedding ceremonies for them to bring them in the mainstream society,” said Gyaneshwar B Patil, Betul district collector. Several social workers and businesses have volunteered to “adopt” the couples and assist them after their nuptials.
At the mass wedding ceremony, the couples will be provided Rs 11,000 along with kitchen utensils, clothes, ration and other important household items.
“During the wedding ceremony, the couples would be provided an amount of Rs 1,00,000 if both partners are specially abled while an amount of Rs 50,000 would be provided if only one of the partners is specially abled. Along with this, the couple will also be offered an amount of Rs 25,000 under Chief Minister Kanyadan Yojana,” said Patil.
In addition to the monetary assistance, the administration also promised to provide other benefits to make the transition into mainstream society easier for the newlyweds.