The Central government has decided to give Rs 2.5 lakh incentive to every inter-caste marriage involving a dalit, reported The Indian Express.
Earlier, the scheme was meant only for such couples whose income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh per annum. However, in a big push to encourage inter-caste marriages involving dalits, the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment decided to open the scheme for all with no income cap. As per this, the one-time incentive of Rs 2.5 lakh can now be availed by all couples where either the bride or the bridegroom is a Dalit.
Already, many states that have similar schemes do not have an income limit.
The scheme, started in 2013 and known as the ‘Dr Ambedkar scheme for social Integration through inter caste marriage,’ is meant to enable such couples who have taken a “socially bold step” to settle down in the initial phase of their married life.
Rajasthan government was one of the first to incentivize inter-caste marriages under the Dr. Savita Ben Ambedkar Inter-caste Marriage Scheme in 2006, offering financial help to couples who break caste walls. The initial incetive was Rs 50000, which rose to Rs 5 lakh.
But Rajasthan later put conditions to curb an increase in the number of fake marriages and divorces under the inter-caste marriage scheme. “In a notification, the government said inter-caste marriages would be allowed only up to 35 years, and the couple would be entitled to only half the incentive money. The remaining would be kept as fixed deposit in a joint account in a nationalised bank and could be claimed only after 8 years of marriage to ensure that the marriage was still on”.
According to the Express report, the centre’s scheme, which targets to provide monetary incentive to at least 500 such inter-caste couples per year, has so far seen poor implementation as merely five couples were given the incentive in 2014-15 and 72 couples in 2015-16. This year, of the 409 proposals it has received so far, the social justice ministry has cleared only 74 couples.
In order to avail the incentive, the scheme’s pre-condition says that it should be their first marriage, and it should be registered under the Hindu Marriages Act, with the proposal being submitted within a year of marriage. The couples also need to submit their Aadhaar numbers and details of their Aadhaar-linked joint bank account.