In Bihar, payment of dowry by the bride’s family is a common practice. The price tag of the bridegroom often depends on his caste, social status and job profile.
The state is also infamous for the maximum number of dowry deaths in the country.
The risk to a girls’ life is therefore a financial issue. The model has been changed in one town by a simple financial management plan. The parents invest in a set of fruit trees for every girl born. The fruit generates income as the girl is raised and the set of trees help offset the cost of marriage.
“This is our way of meeting the challenges of dowry, global warming and female foeticide. There has not been a single incident yet of female foeticide or dowry death in our village,” [villager Shyam Sunder Singh] says.
His cousin, Shankar Singh, planted 30 trees at the time of his daughter Sneha Surabhi’s birth.
The practice is not new. The article says the village now has nearly 100,000 mango and lychee trees for just 7,000 residents and has become far more lush with shade and hospitable compared to other villages in the area.
Now if only the Basel II accords, which require a capital investment/offset for financial and operational risk, could make banks less shady…