Friday 3 July 2015

Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages

(I)   Background:
1. Sociologists have argued that caste system is a hierarchical system in which castes are placed one above the other on the basis of social status and prestige. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar defined Indian caste system as a system based on graded inequality. It divides men into separate communities and one of its main feature, the practice of endogamy i.e. the social rule that requires an individual to marry within a specific culturally defined social group of which he/she is member, reinforces and sustains this separateness and it is this segregation, which has created difficulty in achieving Constitutional values of liberty, equality, fraternity etc in the society.   2. Traditionally, marriage in Hindu society was a sacrament but after the passage of Hindu Marriage Act 1955 it can be treated as a contract. However, still marriages primarily take place on the traditional grounds of Jatis (caste) and up-jati (sub-caste). That means marriage is inextricably linked to Jati Vyavastha (caste system) with its roots in the religion.
3. Inter-caste marriages can be one of the significant steps to reduce the caste-prejudices, abolish ‘untouchability’ and spread the values of liberty, equality, fraternity etc in the society.
4. Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights Act (PCR) and Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act, Central assistance to State Governments and Union Territory Administrations is provided towards incentive for inter-caste marriages where one of the spouses belongs to Scheduled Caste.
5. The object no. XXXI in the Memorandum of Association of Dr. Ambedkar Foundation also mandates “To organize special campaigns for removal of untouchability and caste-based prejudices and for bringing in attitudinal change in the society through communal harmony and brotherhood and receive Govt. assistance for such purposes.” Given the enormity of the social challenge that an inter-caste marriage faces, the Foundation also joins the initiative for bringing in an attitudinal change among the members of society through inter-caste marriages which has the potential to bring sustainable social integration, harmony and fraternity.
6. Since the problem is societal, the solution has to be determined at the level of society. Further, as the matter pertains to the realm of tradition and mind-set, it has to be pursued in a calibrated manner by gradually convincing the society about the desirability of creating a progressive society for which the inter-caste marriages should be accepted as a norm. Therefore, there appears to be a need for greater involvement of Representatives of People from Panchayat to Parliament, Social Activists/ Reformers, Administration, Media etc. in the implementation of this Scheme.
 (II)    The Scheme: 
1. The Scheme would be known as ‘Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages’.
2. The objective of the scheme is to appreciate the socially bold step, of an Inter-caste marriage, taken by the newly married couple and to extend financial incentive to the couple to enable them to settle down in the initial phase of their married life. It is clarified that it should not be construed as a supplementary scheme to an employment generation or poverty alleviation scheme.
3. It shall be the discretion of the Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment & Chairman of Dr. Ambedkar Foundation to sanction the incentive to the Couple.
4. Submission of false/ fabricated information to the competent authority would be punishable as per law in force.
(III) Eligibility: 
    The eligibility criteria are as under:
1. An Inter-caste marriage, for the purpose of this Scheme means a marriage in which one of the spouses belongs to Scheduled Caste and the other belongs to a Non-Scheduled Caste.
2. The marriage should be valid as per the law and duly registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. An affidavit of their being legally married and in matrimonial alliance would be submitted by the couple.
3. No incentive is available on second or subsequent marriage.
4. Proposal would be treated as valid if submitted within one year of marriage.
5. The total annual income of the newly married couple, both put together, should not be more than Rs. 5 lakh.
(IV) Extent of Incentive:
1. The incentive for a legal inter-caste marriage shall be Rs.2.50 lakh per marriage. The eligible couples would receive 50% of the incentive amount in the form of a DD in their joint name and the balance 50% after 5 years.
2. The Scheme would provide incentive to 500 such marriages in one year. Physical target for each state is fixed in proportion to the percentage share of SC population, as per Census 2011.  The Statewise target for release of incentive under the Scheme is annexed as Annexure.
3. The Scheme, to begin with would be implemented on a pilot basis for a period of 2 years i.e. 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Scheme would be reviewed in FY 2014-15 in the light of the recommendations of the EFC of the Umbrella Scheme and also the final decision of the CCEA on the similar Scheme of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment which is already under implementation and its revised version is also envisaged to be as one of the sub-component of the proposed Umbrella Scheme for Development of Scheduled Castes (Centrally Sponsored Scheme).
4. An amount of Rs. 25,000/-, for each marriage, would be released to the District Authorities for organising a befitting programme in which the incentive would be handed over to the couple.
(V) Norms for release of Incentive : 
 The norms for release of the Incentive amount under the Scheme are as follows :-
1. The proposal to give incentive under the Scheme should be recommended either by sitting Member of Parliament or Member of Legislative Assembly or the District Collector/ Magistrate and submitted by the State/UT Government.
2. The eligible couples would receive 50% of the incentive amount in the form of a DD in their joint name to be deposited in their declared Aadhaar based bank account and the balance 50% incentive amount would be released to the couple after 5 years from that date.  
3. An acknowledgment of receipt of the incentive in the shape of a Demand Draft & Fixed Deposit and a photograph of the occasion would be forwarded by the District Authorities to the Foundation for record.
4.    Power of Relaxation :  
Chairperson DAF & HMSJE may relax any provisions of the scheme in deserving cases.
5.  How to apply:
A model application format is enclosed.
The proposal to give incentive under the Scheme should be recommended either by sitting Member of Parliament or Member of Legislative Assembly or the District Collector/ Magistrate and submitted by the State/UT Government Authorities through Foundation’s website –


Sl. No.Name of the State% Share of SC to Total SC Population in IndiaNo. of Inter-Caste Marriages to be incentivized
1. Punjab4.40022
2.Himachal Pradesh0.8595
3.West Bengal10.65854
4.Uttar Pradesh20.537102
6.Tamil Nadu 7.17036
8.Uttarkhand 0.9404
10.Tripura0.325 2
14.Andhra Pradesh 6.89234
16. Puducherry0.097 1
17.Madhya Pradesh 5.63228
18.Chattisgarh 1.6268
19.Jharkhand1.979 10
21.Kerala 1.5097
22.Jammu and Kashmir0.4592
23.Assam 1.108 5
24. Gujarat2.02310
27.Daman & Diu0.0030
28.Dadra & Nagar Haveli0.003 0
31.Mizoram 0.0010
TOTAL100.000 500

Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar Islands & Lakshadweep do not have SC population.

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