Sociologists have argued that the 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 the Indian caste system as a system based on graded inequality. It divides the society into separate communities and one of its main features, 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 a 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.
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.
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.
Since it is social issue, the solution has to be determined at the level of society, Further, as the matter pertains to the realm of tradition and mindset, 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
Schemes to Promote Inter-Caste Marriages:
A. Central Government Scheme:
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 intercaste marriages where one of the spouses belongs to Scheduled Caste.
The Scheme is known as ‘Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages‘.
The objective of the scheme is to appreciate the socially bold step, of an Intercaste 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.
The incentive for a legal inter-caste marriage shall be Rs.2.50 lakh per marriage.
The Scheme was initially introduced on a pilot basis for a period of 2 years i.e. 2013-14 and 2014-15 and is being continued as a regular scheme since then.
Marriages approved in Rajasthan under The Scheme is known as ‘Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages‘.
|Year||Number of approved marriages|
B. Rajasthan Government Scheme:
The State government in 2006 framed the Dr Savita Ben Ambedkar Inter-caste Marriage Scheme offering monetary assistance to men and women who married across the caste lines.
From 2006, when the scheme was launched, till 2012, the Rajasthan government gave Rs 50,000 to each eligible inter-caste couple. In April 2013, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s government increased the grant to Rs 5 lakh, of which half is given soon after a couple’s application is approved and the other half is invested in a fixed deposit that the couple can access eight years later, if they are still married.
The government has raised the sum in order to promote inter-caste marriages. Inter – caste marriage would be allowed only up to 35 years of age, and the couple would be entitled to only half of the incentive money. The rest of the amount would be kept as fixed deposit in a joint account in a nationalized bank and claimed only after eight years of marriage.
Under this scheme, bride and the groom should be Hindus, ensuring that no polygamy is involved. The couple will be able to claim Rs. 2.5 lac within one year of registration of marriage for purchase of household goods.
- The Scheme is known as ‘Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages in Rajasthan – Source of Data