The gram sabha of Latifpur village near Lucknow has taken an important step to ensure families of residents do not run up debts when marrying off their daughters.
With 400 of the 450 families in the village already facing a debt burden due to wedding expenses, the gram sabha has put together a corpus fund of Rs 2 lakh.
The fund will be used to hold community weddings for young men and women in the village.
This corpus fund will also be used to provide interest free loans for other emergencies like birth and death, urgent healthcare needs of the local residents, and weddings.
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The fund system will hopefully put an end to the practice of money lending at usurious interest rates.
“Out of the 450 families, nearly 400 had either sold or mortgaged their land and other belongings to meet the expenses of a wedding. The problem was common to both bride and groom sides. The revelation was placed before the gram sabha and a consensus over dowry-free weddings was formed,” Shweta Singh, the village head, told Asian Age.
Raj Shekhar, District Magistrate of Lucknow, recently reviewed the development plan for Latifpur and said the mandate for dowry-free weddings has been included in the village gram sabha corporate plan.
“The corporate plan has over 350 points and interventions needed to provide a better quality of life to residents,” said Shweta Singh, who holds a Master’s degree in computer applications.
Shweta’s husband Akhilesh, who has a PhD in sociology, acts as an adviser to the gram sabha. He has surveyed the village to examine the causes of poverty there.