India

Centre's Rs. 2.5L incentive for marrying a Dalit

06 Dec 2017 | By Gogona Saikia

In 2013, the Centre launched a scheme to reward those marrying Dalits. However, only those with annual family income of less than Rs. 5L could seek a one-time incentive of Rs. 2.5L.

This and other restrictions led to low turnouts: out of a capacity of 500, only five got the incentive in 2014-15.

Now the Centre has relaxed provisions, including scrapping the income limit.

In context: Measures to encourage social integration of Dalits

06 Dec 2017Centre's Rs. 2.5L incentive for marrying a Dalit

ProblemsWhat was wrong with the original scheme?

The 'Dr Ambedkar scheme for social Integration through intercaste marriage' offered Rs. 2.5L to couples where one partner is a Dalit.

However, the family income had to be below Rs. 5L. It would have to be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, and the application submitted within a year.

Moreover, the application had to be backed by a lawmaker.

Awareness was anyway low.

Stringent provisions meant shockingly low turnouts

Such restrictions translated to poor performance of the scheme. In 2015-16, only 72 of the 522 applicant couples were approved, and only 45 of the 736 in the next year. This year, the social justice ministry has received 409 applications till now and cleared 74.

ChangeWhat's new in it now?

Now the Centre has lifted income caps. Any couple where one partner is a Dalit is eligible to receive Rs. 2.5L.

"Many states that have similar schemes do not have an income limit," explained an official.

It has also made it mandatory for such couples to submit their Aadhaar details, link Aadhaar with their bank account and submit details of that too.

StatsPrevalence of inter-caste marriages in India

Based on 2005-06 data from the National Family Health Survey, researchers K Das and others found that 11% of marriages in India are inter-caste.

In J&K, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya and TN, 95% had married within their own caste.

States like Punjab, Goa, Sikkim and Kerala fared somewhat better in terms of social integration, with 20% marriages between castes.