Congress MP Ms Ranjeet Ranjan, who is wife of Bihar strongman Pappu Yadav, has introduced a bill in the parliament which seeks to cap the spending in Indian weddings and and make them more spartan. The Marriages (Compulsory Registration and Prevention of Wasteful Expenditure) Bill, might be taken up in the next session of the Lok Sabha. One of the proposals in the bill is:
If any family intends to spend more than Rs 5 lakh towards expenditure on marriage, such family shall declare the amount proposed to be spent in advance to the appropriate government and contribute 10 per cent of such amount in a welfare fund which shall be established by the appropriate government to assist the poor and Below Poverty Line (BPL) families for the marriage of their daughters.
This bill if passed would render most families at the mercy of wedding authorities who can easily and create a kind of a wedding terrorism where authorities can raid such weddings which they feel has spent more than 5 lakh but hasn’t informed the government.
Also one might argue that the idea of imposing 10% surcharge on weddings above 5 lakh, to be used for funding poor people’s wedding, is a good idea, but to ascertain the amount the authorities might carry out a total audit which would feel no less than that of an IT raid. And giving that amount to the poor ‘impartially’ is a completely different ballgame.
Plus the fact remains that such an expenditure of wealth at weddings isn’t such entirely a bad thing. To explain it simply, the money being spent is private wealth and every expense has a beneficiary. So for every money spent, someone else – a caterer, a florist, a music band, a cab owner, et al. – is earning it and improving his/her financial situation. The only people who might be unhappy with such a scenario are communists, who are never happy when someone apart from them is earning money.
While the rationale and aspects of the bills can be and should be debated, the media chose to report it in a way that put the onus on the government, even though it was a private bill introduced by a Congress MP, which was not mentioned in the headlines:
No more extravagant weddings? Bill in Lok Sabha seeks cap on guests, dishes served https://t.co/W6slNV6jyh
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) February 15, 2017
The Economic Times completely jumped the jun and reported that the bill was actually introduced by the BJP government before retracting:
Also this introduction of the bill might be a bit hypocritical as the wedding of the MP who has proposed the bill, Ms Ranjeet Ranjan, was herself married lavishly if one goes by this report. This report talks about Ms Ranjan arriving to Purnia in a Private jet, the roads of the town getting decorated, hotels getting booked. Something which can hardly be covered in Rs 5 lakh.
Also, just in case you thought that this idea of regulating expenses in weddings was a novel idea, it’s not. In Pakistan, there is a law that stipulates that one cannot keep more than one dish at a wedding and cannot put up any unnecessary decoration.