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Condoms, birth control pills in ‘wedding kit’ trigger row in MP

2023-12-07 11:49:44source:xsn

A mass wedding event held in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district under the government’s wedding scheme for economically weaker sections got embroiled in a controversy after over 200 newly-wed couples were gifted make-up boxes containing condoms and contraceptive pills.

Condoms, birth control pills in ‘wedding kit’ trigger row in MP

The event was organised under Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Mukhyamantri Kanya Vivah/Nikah Yojana in Thandla where 296 couples got married.

Condoms, birth control pills in ‘wedding kit’ trigger row in MP

Senior district official Bhursingh Rawat blamed the state health department, saying health officials distributed condoms and contraceptives as part of an awareness programme related to family planning.

Condoms, birth control pills in ‘wedding kit’ trigger row in MP

“We are not responsible for distributing condoms and contraceptive pills. There is no provision in the Mukhyamantri Kanya Vivah for the provision of such a kit. We have told the local administration officials to keep a check on this in future and conduct a door-to-door campaign instead of distributing condoms at a mass wedding event. This is a tribal area with low literacy rate. People don’t have a lot of scientific temperament, so keeping that in view we will make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Rawat told The Indian Express.

Dr Ashok Patel, district family and welfare officer, told The Indian Express: “There was confusion at the event. We saw over 200 newly-weds at one place and thought we could target them. We had over 200 of our own health workers who educated them on the kit. But some people could not understand… there were couples who thought this was a part of dowry… It would take us over one month to track them all down and distribute these kits,” the officer said. The ‘Nai pahal’ kit is provided to newly married couples by the local ASHA workers.

The purpose of the kit is to impart best practices for family planning, “motivate newly married people to keep a gap (up to 2 years) after the birth of the first child after marriage using temporary family planning means” and has been distributed by the local health department for the past one year.

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The kit contains two months worth of condoms, daily and weekly contraceptive pills, two pregnancy kits packed into a gift box. Along with these, the officials have also given a mirror, two packets of bindis, two towels and two handkerchiefs.


The Madhya Pradesh government launched the Mukhyamantri Kanya Vivah/Nikah Yojana in April 2006 to provide financial assistance for wedding 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.

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Following the distribution of the “nai pahal” kit, the Congress targeted CM Chouhan. “Will BJP leaders reveal to the public what they gifted their daughters after their marriage? Why is it that only when it comes to tribal people they are publicly subjected to this? Is there no right to privacy left for them? In the past as well, mass pregnancy tests were carried out in this region by the administration,” said Congress spokesman Piyush Babele.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd