Indian state announces plan to give brides gold ahead of major election

A northeastern Indian state has revealed an interesting new program in which they’ve promised to give more than $500 worth of gold to brides from poor families.

The announcement comes a few months before national elections for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The gold handouts will take place for brides in the rural state of Assam, which has shown discontent with the BJP in recent years following “low farm incomes and a lack of jobs,” according to the Daily Telegraph.

The federally-funded program takes shape as attempts to stimulate the economy of the country, as the Reserve Bank of India announced last week that they would reduce interest rates for the first time since 2017.

Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam’s minister of finance, announced on Wednesday that he made three million rupees available for the program beginning in the next fiscal year, which begins on April 1. The amount should be enough for 80,000 brides to receive a “tola,” which is equal to about 11.66 grams of gold.

“A customary ritual which has been part of Assamese society for centuries is to gift a set of gold ornaments to one’s daughter as a blessing as she leaves her father’s home to start a new life,” Mr Sarma said, explaining the reasoning behind the program.

“I feel that it’s my solemn responsibility to stand with those fathers who cannot afford to gift a set of gold ornaments.”

The program will, however, have parameters. It is limited to families who make less than 500,000 rupees per year, the equivalent of about $7,000, and only two women per family will be permitted to receive the gold.

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