Maharashtra’s helping hand for inter-caste marriages
The Maharashtra government will give ₹2.5 lakh as incentive to couples entering inter-caste marriages, but with a caveat that either the groom or bride must be from the Scheduled Caste category and the marriage must be performed at a mass wedding ceremony organised by the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Samata Pratishthan (DBASP), an autonomous company working under the State government’s Social Justice Department (SJD). Incentive increased Inter-caste couples currently receive ₹50,000 from the State. In 2017, the Centre had announced a scheme with an incentive of ₹2.5 lakh. Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Rajkumar Badole said that an inter-caste marriage is one of the most effective ways to break the shackles of caste hierarchy. “We will be extending this financial incentive to the couples as we consider them the leaders of the anti-caste movement which will create a society without caste,” said Mr. Badole. The Samata Pratishthan will be organising a mass-wedding ceremony in February. Couples getting married then will be given the incentive.“The company [DBASP] is autonomous and though it works under the Social Justice Department, we have no control over its finances,” said an official from the SJD, when asked about financial allocation for the scheme. Maharashtra is also coming up with a law to protect and promote inter-caste marriages, the draft of which is yet to be submitted to the State. The new law will have special clauses extending protection from honour killing, social boycott.