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The Madhya Pradesh government launched the scheme in April 2006.

Bhopal:

Condoms and contraceptive pills were found inside make-up boxes given to brides at a mass wedding event in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district on Monday.

A mass wedding event was organised under Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Mukhyamantri Kanya Vivah/Nikah Yojana, a scheme for women from economically weaker sections, in Thandla where as many as 296 couples were wedded. Condoms and contraceptive pills were distributed to newlyweds under the scheme. The packets were found inside make-up boxes that were distributed among the couples as part of the scheme.

Senior district official Bhursingh Rawat laid the blame on the state health department, saying that it is possible that health officials might have distributed condoms and contraceptives as part of an awareness program related to family planning.

“We are not responsible for distributing the condoms and the contraceptive pills. It is possible that the health department gave away the material as part of its family planning awareness program. Under the Mukhyamantri Kanya Vivah/Nikah Yojana, we transfer Rs 49,000 directly to the beneficiary’s bank account. We are responsible for providing food, water, and a tent, which amounts to Rs 6,000. I had no idea what was in the packets that were distributed,” Mr Rawat said.

The Madhya Pradesh government launched the Mukhyamantri Kanya Vivah/Nikah Yojana in April 2006 to provide financial assistance for the weddings of women from economically weaker sections. Under the scheme, the government provides Rs 55,000 to the bride’s family.

Last month, the scheme came under fire after some brides were made to take pregnancy tests at a mass wedding event in Gadsarai area of Dindori. A woman whose pregnancy test came back positive said she had been living with her fiance before the wedding. 

The chief medical officer of Dindori had said that tests are usually conducted to verify the age of the bride and groom, to check for sickle cell anemia, and to ensure that they are physically fit.

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