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Centre offers a helping hand to every inter-caste marriage with a Dalit

Context:

  • The Central government has decided to pay Rs 2.5 lakh to couples in which either the bride or the bridegroom is a Dalit.

What are the recent orders?

  • Earlier, the scheme (‘Dr Ambedkar scheme for social Integration through inter caste marriage) was meant for couples whose income was below Rs 5 lakh per annum.
  • But now the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment directed the states that the condition that the total income of the couples will not exceed Rs 5 lakh per annum is to be removed.
  • The ministry also made it mandatory that such couples must have their Aadhaar cards and their bank accounts should be linked with their Aadhaar numbers.
  • Many states that have similar schemes do not have an income limit; so the Centre too decided it to remove it.

How such incentive is expected to help?

  • This financial incentive is expected to help these inter-caste couples find their stability in the early stages of their lives.
  • More people will marry outside their caste and that this would help reduce caste prejudices in the country.
  • Social Integration and social equity are other key factors which the government is aiming at.

Is the scheme suitable for the country?

  • The scheme could face the following challenges:
  • Corruption: India has one of the highest rates of corruption.
  • Just like the previous years of the scheme, the money may be received by only a handful.
  • Marry for money: It might be a case that through programmes such as these people are being encouraged to marry for money.
  • Social injustice: There would be a situation where rural hinterlands people will get rid of their wives once they get the money,
  • Laws in majority parts of India still seem to be lagging by centuries when it comes to providing equal rights to women.

What is the ‘Dr Ambedkar scheme for social Integration through inter caste marriage’?

  • The ‘Dr Ambedkar scheme for social Integration through inter caste marriage’ was started in 2013.
  • The objective of the scheme is to
  • appreciate the socially bold step of inter-caste marriage and
  • settle down in the initial phase of their married life.

Implementation of the scheme:

  • The implementation of the scheme was very poor.
  • In 2014-2015, only 5 couples were given the money.
  • In 2015-2016, only 72 such couples could get the money.

Reasons behind the poor implementation:

  • The poor implementation could be attributed to strict pre-conditions:
  • It should be first marriage.
  • The marriage should be registered under the Hindu Marriages Act, disregarding the several cases registered under the Special Marriages Act.
  • Because of the provision, couples registered under Special Marriages Act couldn’t avail the benefits of the scheme.
  • The proposal needs to be recommended by an MP, MLA, or District Collector, which is not possible for many.
  • Awareness about the scheme is very low.

Conclusion:

  • It is better that instead of such free money, people is made aware through social programmes and campaigns.
  • Strict laws are to be created and then enforced properly in order to stop acts of hate crime related to caste.
  • Also, politicians increasingly prefer to stand with the conservative view on the matter, which is the protection and preservation of caste identity through marriage within the caste, this needs a concrete discussion.
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