A mason in Jharkhand has become its first groom to opt for a cashless wedding, stealing a march on many of his tech-savvy counterparts.
Thirty-year-old Subhash Nayak has dedicated his initiative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cashless drive, which came on the heels of a controversial decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8.
Nayak, a non-matriculate, married 20-year-old Sunita, the daughter of a labourer from Itihasa village in West Singhbhum district, on Monday. The wedding – which remained cashless from the shagun to kanyadaan ceremonies – was solemnised at Badiya village in East Singhbum district, 180 km south of state capital Ranchi.
Not a single currency note was used at the event, with the groom’s family performing all the rituals through Paytm and point-of-sale machines. The 170-odd guests at the wedding paid through cheques, and no dowry was sought from the bride’s family.
“I am happy to be a part of the state’s first cashless marriage. I only hope the initiative will boost the campaigns of the Prime Minister as well as chief minister Raghubar Das to promote cashless transactions,” said Nayak.
Payments for various arrangements made at the wedding, including the tent house, vegetables, ration, jewellers and priestly duties, were made through cheques.
Das had kicked off his leg of the initiative from Ranchi’s Nagri block on December 2 last year. So far, the government has declared 63 panchayats in 24 districts of Jharkhand as cashless.
Badiya, an extremely backward village, has no bank and very limited Internet penetration (only a handful of its residents possess smartphones). The villagers couldn’t think of cashless weddings as anything but a distant dream until Nayak made it happen.
The villager said Ganesh Nayak, his former employer, and Sanjay Kumar, deputy collector at the chief minister’s camp office, helped him organise the cashless wedding. “On television, I saw a man begging in Chennai with a POS machine. I thought that if a beggar can go cashless, why can’t we?” said Ganesh. He then approached Kumar with the idea.
The government official camped at the village for three days, holding discussions and training its residents in cashless transactions. Guests and relatives were asked to come up with gift cheques instead of the traditional cash-filled envelopes.
“As the groom had no bank account to his name, I invited bank officials to the marriage ceremony. Soon after Subhash and Sunita were married, the officials opened a joint account in their name and gave them ATM cards,” said Kumar.
Ironically, the groom’s house did not have a toilet. Upon being informed about this, Kumar got one constructed in just 11 hours. “The toilet was also built without using cash. The mason was paid through cheque,” he said.