Goa has long since been considered safe for women. But given the atrocities committed against them in the last few years, there is a real fear that those days could be over. Take the Ladli Laxmi scheme for Women for example. The Ladli Laxmi scheme was launched in Goa in July 2012. It was launched with the aim of preventing female foeticide in the state. Under the same, the state government provides financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh for girls above 18 years when it is time for them to marry. In order to benefit, the girl needs to have been born and brought up in Goa and her parents have to have a 25-year domicile in the state.
Unfortunately, according to an article taken from the Navhind Times, it seems that people are using the scheme in a wrongful manner to get money.
Ladli Laxmi scheme for Women being used to harass girls for dowry
Subhalaxmi Naik, the chairperson of the Goa State Commission for Women has stated that the Ladli Laxmi scheme is now being thoroughly misused. The popular scheme has become a tool for dowry harassment she says. She now recommends that the government take action and modify the same. She has asked the state government to convert the Ladli Laxmi scheme into a government-sponsored community marriage scheme or a ‘mass-marriages’ scheme. In this way, the money can be spent on each couple as means to avoid dowry harassment after marriage.
Ms. Naik further mentioned that the husbands and families of these girls went on to harass them for the money received from the Ladli Laxmi scheme. “Rather than being a boon for the families, the scheme appears to have become a bane and cause for dowry harassment,” she said.
The commission has received numerous complaints from women saying that their husbands and in-laws want the money from the scheme.
The idea behind creating the Ladli Laxmi scheme for Women
The whole point of the scheme was to help families and the girls cope with wedding expenditure. Instead, people have taken advantage and are now misusing the Ladli Laxmi scheme for their own greed. Therefore, the government now needs to modify the scheme.
Naik has sent the government a proposal to convert the scheme into a community marriage scheme where no money is directly deposited in any bank account.
“I even suggested to the government to change the purpose of the scheme and provide 1 lakh for gaining higher education or being self-employed rather than releasing monetary benefits for marriage to every woman attaining the age of 18 years,” she said.
Two years ago, there was a horrifying incident wherein a young woman from Quepem took her own life. It was believed that she committed suicide due to alleged harassment from her husband and in-laws for the money from the Ladli Laxmi scheme.
According to sources, approximately 10000 marriages are registered in the state every year. And with these, complaints also seem to be registered. In 2015, there were approximately 200+ complaint cases reported by the commission. Cases reported included dowry harassment, suspicion of character and other family disputes. The number increased the next year but in 2017, came down to around 198.
However, the commission has not maintained any classification of categories of crimes against women.
Information credit – The Navhind Times