Charity Commission to help fund farmers' daughters' weddings

Mar 13, 2018, 12:16 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Commission to ask religious trusts to give up part of their unused donations for the weddings

Thousands of farmers led by All India Kisan Sabha reached Mumbai on Monday demading a complete waiver of loans and electricity bills. Here's a look at what transpired
Thousands of farmers led by All India Kisan Sabha reached Mumbai on Monday demading a complete waiver of loans and electricity bills. Here's a look at what transpired

While it remains to be seen whether or not the state government agrees to the demands of the 35,000 farmers who have marched to Mumbai from Nashik, the Charity Commission is doing their part to help them: by starting an initiative to take care of the costs involved in the weddings of their daughters. Leaders from the farmers' movement have welcomed this move because several farmers end up taking their lives if they are unable to arrange money for their daughters' wedding.

Shivkumar Dige, commissioner, Charity Commission told mid-day, "Every year, we read that farmers have committed suicide upon not being able to raise money for the marriages of their daughters. In fact, daughters also commit suicide to save their fathers from the hands of local money lenders, who impose high interest rates. The situation is the same for others, daily wage earners or beggars. This would provide a sigh of relief to them."

Donate a portion
How does the commission plan on going about this initiative? By utilising unused funds given by the public to religious trusts. Dige said, "Thousands of such religious trusts under our umbrella would be asked to donate a portion of their unused funds for public welfare. The money the public donates for god, that lies unused in the trusts' bank accounts, can be used for the marriages of farmers' daughters. All the trustees have to follow the instructions."

In a circular sent last week, all district officers have been instructed to form a committee of the local trusts in their respective districts. Once that is done, the Charity Commission would run a check on the members. The percentage of donation would be decided after considering the financial strength of the trusts, which can vary from 15-20 per cent of the unused funds in their bank accounts. As for the beneficiaries, once they apply for the scheme, a thorough background check would be done to avoid any malicious activities, before providing them with the funds.

Need a GR
A trustee from the Siddhivinayak temple trust said the initiative would certainly help poor families but, "We come under the umbrella of the government. So, once we will get the instructions, we have to let our committee know, who would then inform the government. So, once the government passes a Government Resolution, we would be able to follow it."

Dige said apart from government-run trusts, those like the Mahalaxmi and Mumbra Devi temple trusts that come under the Charity Commission would have to follow the new guidelines.

Would lessen the suffering
Professor Ajit Navale, leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha, who is currently protesting with farmers in the city welcomed the move. "When our lands fail to bear fruits, we don't have any other source of income. The pressure of getting daughters married often makes farmers more depressed, and they end up committing suicide.

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