To promote the social status of Dalits, Centre is encouraging inter-caste marriages. According to the rule, the Dalit brides or bridegrooms of an inter-caste marriage will be rewarded with Rs 2.5 lakh. This new scheme is entitled to all Dalits, as against the earlier system where only couples with an annual income of Rs 5 lakhs and below were applicable. As reported by Indian Express, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment suggests the linking of the ‘Dr Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration’, to the couple’s Aadhaar numbers and bank account details. This scheme aims to target around 500 marriages a year, though it hasn’t reached even 100 in the past years.
Though the income limit has been scraped off, the scheme demands the marriage to be recorded under the Hindu Marriage Act apart from being the first marriage of both the spouses. The scheme draws inspiration from BR Ambedkar’s views on caste culture and union through exogamy.
As reported by Indian Express, the scheme has failed to perform satisfactorily since its inception. Only five couples were given the sum during 2014-15, and in 2015-16, only 72 couples among 522 applications were accepted. While in 2016 – 17, as low as 45 out of 736 couples were approved. And as of this year, the ministry has received the proposal of 409 couples, but only 74 have been cleared. The target for each state differs depending on their overall share of Scheduled Caste population. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan submit the maximum proposals.
Sources- Indian Express, Firstpost