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Indian brides still want gold, not rupees

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Krishna N. Das
Thursday, February 7, 2019

NEW DELHI, India -- An Indian state will give gold worth about $530 to every bride from a poor family, the latest budget giveaway ahead of a general election that must be held by May.

The northeastern state of Assam is run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is facing a battle for re-election because of low farm incomes and a lack of jobs that have turned off some of those who backed it in the last polls, in 2014. ...

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The tea-growing state's finance minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, allocated 3 billion rupees ($42 million) for the next fiscal year, from April 1, for the gold program. That would buy 875 kilograms of gold, enough for about 80,000 brides.

"A customary ritual that 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," Sarma said in his budget speech on Wednesday.

He said the program should stop families falling into debt to pay for daughters' weddings. ...

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