you know that the government started a scheme to encourage inter caste marriages, and reward such couples with Rs 50,000? The scheme was started in 1995, and according to the state Government Resolution (GR), only marriages between members of the Hindu, Brahmin, Lingayat, Jain or Sikh community and members from the Schedule Tribe (ST), Schedule Caste (SC), and Nomadic Tribe (NT) are entitled to the reward.
Over the past two years, the Social Welfare Department has released rewards to 123 couples totalling Rs 53 lakh. So far, each of the 24 couples that entered inter-caste wedlock before 2010 received reward amounts of Rs 15,000. The scheme was revised in February 2010, and 99 couples who entered inter caste marriage thereafter were rewarded with Rs 50,000.
M S Shere, social welfare officer, said, “The response two years ago was limited, but has recently grown. We have rewarded 123 couples in the past two years.”
An official of the Social Welfare Department claimed that while the 50 per cent of the budget is allotted from the state, the other fifty per cent comes from the Centre to cover the scheme.
The GR of state states that if one person is from the Scheduled Tribe, Schedule Caste or Nomadic Tribe and other person is a Hindu, Brahmin, Lingayat, Jain or Sikh, then the couple will be rewarded with the cash prize.
Couples are required to submit two self attested copies of documents like marriage certificate, school leaving certificate, picture of couple while entering wedlock, reference letter from either corporator or SEO, letter from district collector, joint bank account, copy of ration card to the department in order to avail the reward.
An official from the Social Welfare Department said on condition of anonymity, “It takes six months to claim this reward. Earlier it was less, but now since such marriages have increased it takes longer for the process to be completed. Another point is that the couple needs have been born and brought up in Maharashtra, or else they can’t claim the reward. We advertise about this scheme through newspaper advertisements and workshops, but still many couples are unaware of the scheme.”