New Delhi: The then inter-caste marriage under ‘Dr Ambedkar scheme for social Integration through inter-caste marriage’ which was started in 2013 by the UPA Government led by Congress is still operating with BJP Government offering Rs 2.5 lakh for inter-caste marriage with a Dalit, a move to encourage inter-caste marriages.
The scheme was started to “appreciate the socially bold step” and to enable the couples to “settle down in the initial phase of their married life” with a target to provide the incentive to at least 500 inter-caste couples per year. As per the rules, couples whose total annual income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh are eligible to get the one-time incentive of Rs 2.5 lakh from the Centre.
The other rules apart from the annual income were that the marriage should be the couple’s first marriage and registered under the Hindu Marriage Act.
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has recently directed the states that “the condition that the total income of the newly-wedded couple will not exceed Rs 5 lakh per annum” be scrapped, and there will be “no income limit for incentive under the scheme” making it mandatory for the couples to submit their Aadhaar details and their Aadhar linked joint bank account.
A Ministry’s official said, “Many states that have similar schemes do not have an income limit; so the Centre too decided it to remove it.” The official stated that the scheme was poorly implemented since it was begun in 2013 reports the Indian Express.
According to the statistics, only five people were given the incentive in the year 2014-15. In 2015-16, only 72 couples have sanctioned the incentive out of 522 couples, while in 2016-2017 only 45 couples were given the incentive out of 736 applications.
This year, the ministry has sanctioned only 74 proposals out of the 409 proposals received so far.
According to the Officials from the Ministry not meeting the all the stated pre-conditions are the reasons for lower approval rate and recommendations by an MP, MLA, or District Collector.
For instance, only intermarriages registered under the Hindu Marriage Act are eligible for the monetary incentive from the Government and not other several marriages registered under the Special Marriages Act.
The official added that “Awareness about the scheme is very low, most of the proposals come from a few states such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharastra.”
The monetary scheme is fixed for all the states in the nation though the states are allowed to exceed their targets of the Scheduled Caste population.
Accordingly, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, are allowed to submit the maximum proposals.
The scheme was based to counter the Hindu practice of marrying on the “traditional grounds of jatis (castes) and up-jatis (sub-castes)”.
The idea of promoting the inter-caste marriage was derived from Babasaheb Ambedkar’s teachings who told that caste and endogamy ( a custom of marrying within one’s own community) are the same thing. He had then noted the issue and said, “prohibition, or rather the absence of intermarriage — endogamy, to be concise — is the only one that can be called the essence of caste” and promoted “fusion” through intermarriage (exogamy).