Ineligible beneficiaries claiming Shagun scheme aid as amount hiked from July 1
Ineligible beneficiaries are furnishing fake marriage cards, affidavits and forged marriage certificates with the help of sarpanches and area councillors since financial assistance under the Punjab government’s Shagun (also Ashirwad) scheme was increased from ₹21,000 to ₹51,000 from July 1.
It has been just a week since the revised scheme came into effect, but the district administration in Moga has already received at least 15 such claims. The number could be even more as they are in the process of verify other claims as well, officials said.
The scheme offers monetary help for the marriage of girls belonging to the scheduled castes, backward classes and those from the BPL (below poverty line) category besides daughters of widows. The amount was ₹21,000 before July 1.
To avail of the scheme, a beneficiary needs to apply before getting married or 30 days after marriage. But the district administration is receiving claims of marriages that took place even a year ago.
Moga district welfare officer Harpal Singh Gill said, “The beneficiaries are required to furnish documents such as marriage cards and certificates attested by local sarpanches and councillors. But the elected representatives are attesting forged and counterfeit documents.”
“During the verification of claims, we found that ineligible beneficiaries had printed fake marriage cards and submitted these. In most cases, the marriages of women took place six months or a year back, but they have printed marriage cards with recent dates. Besides, they have also changed dates on marriage certificates,” said Gill.
Moga deputy commissioner Sandeep Hans said, “The officials concerned brought to my notice that some of the documents attested by the sarpanchs and councillors were forged during the verification. This is an apparent move to get benefit of the scheme by manipulating the facts.”
“We have directed all the sarpanches and councillors to attest documents only after verifying the facts. If more such cases come to the fore in future, a strict action will be taken against them,” the DC added.