Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government today hiked the amount it gives as an incentive to men and women who opt to marry outside their caste to Rs 2.5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh to encourage more such inter-caste marriages.
The amount has been increased to keep pace with the times, said SC/ST Development Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi. The hiked incentives would be implemented with retrospective effect from September 14, 2017 and be given in a marriage between upper caste Hindus and SC Hindus, he added.
The amount would be given irrespective of the economic status of the marrying couple and has to be used to purchase land or household articles.
Odisha had last time increased the amount from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh in 2017.
A marriage in which one of the spouses belonged to the Scheduled Caste and the other belonged to a non-Scheduled Caste would be considered for the incentive.
According to the rule, the couple shall have to apply for sanction and will have to execute a bond.
The couple has to refund the amount within a year if the marriage ends in divorce within five years, sources said.
Worth mentioning, the proposal to encourage inter-caste marriages was first discussed in the meeting of the Scheduled Caste Welfare Advisory board in June 2015 under the chairmanship of chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
Official sources said at least 17% of Odisha’s population are Dalits.
In the 2017-18 financial year, the State government has awarded about Rs 2.65 crore to 543 couples.
There are many states which are offering the cash incentive to promote inter-caste marriages to eradicate untouchability.
Rajasthan is the only state which gives a hefty Rs 5 lakh for inter-caste couples.