Social Reform Act goes into effect in two Hetauda local unitsThe act prohibits giving and taking of dowry, attendance of over 51 people, or jantis, in nuptial ceremonies, and a gift of over Rs 1,000.
Two rural municipalities in Hetauda—Makwanpurgadhi and Manahari—have started implementing the Social Reform Act.
“The Act has been introduced to curb the dowry system, gender pay gap and other ill practices. This Act will also prevent unnecessary expenditures, especially during weddings,” said Bidur Humagain, chief of Makwanpurgadhi. “The Act will also help control corruption.”
Manahari’s chief Ekraj Uprety echoed Humagain. “We are trying to first bring the Act into practice among local representatives,” Uprety said.
As per the Act, one is prohibited from taking more than 51 people as jantis in nuptial ceremonies, and over 25 people in religious functions; taking and giving dowry, and anything costing more than Rs1,000 as gifts. The Act also prohibits any form of gambling.
The Act also addresses the wage gap between men and women for similar work, and it aims to abolish the gender pay gap that is still prevalent in the municipalities. It also bans the production and trade of local alcoholic beverages, allowing shops to sell branded alcohol only between 5 pm to 8 pm. Sale of tobacco products and alcohol is restricted within 500 metres from schools, government offices and religious sites. The Act also has provisions on the use of pesticides and chemicals on crops.
For effective implementation of the Act, both the municipalities are organising programmes to raise awareness on the Act’s provisions. Anyone found breaching the Act will be penalised and deprived of the facilities that the local units provide.
Makwanpurgadhi is a predominantly Tamang settlement spread over 148 square kilometres and is divided into eight wards. Spread over 99 sq km and demarcated into nine wards, Manahari is home to Tamang, Khas, Chepang, Bankariya, Bote and Dalit communities. The total population of the two rural municipalities is around 64,000, according to the 2011 census.