The State government on Wednesday informed the Legislative Assembly that those who wish to enrol under the Bhagyalakshmi insurance scheme for girls from below poverty line families, have to mandatorily furnish the marriage certificate along with the application form.

However, Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar raised the issue during Zero Hour, demanding withdrawal of a circular issued in this regard. He said the government had included the clause to wind up the scheme launched by the previous BJP government. It was because of financial constraints that the government had not been able to provide insurance bonds to such girls. Former Ministers Basavaraj Bommai and C.T. Ravi, and other BJP members joined in.

In her reply, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Umashree and Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs T.B. Jayachandra said officials would be instructed to provide all information to parents to obtain marriage registration certificates. However, the government would not withdraw the circular, they said.

A gazette notification issued by the State government on May 22 states that this is now a mandatory document to avail of the scheme. This condition will be applicable only to new enrolments with effect from April 1, 2014, and not to old ones.

The decision is in accordance with the Karnataka Legislative Committee’s 40th report, which recommends making registration of marriages mandatory while applying for the scheme, said Ms. Umashree. She said the idea behind this was to protect women by giving them legal rights through registration of marriage. This would bring down desertion, second marriage and also give the right to women to go to court in case of any problems in their marriage, she said.

The Bhagyalakshmi scheme was introduced by the BJP-JDS coalition government, with the aim of improving sex ratio, eliminating gender bias and ensuring education up to first-year PU for the girl child.

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