Social engineering scheme: Inter-caste couples suffer as Punjab coffers runs dry
A central government’s social engineering scheme to encourage inter-caste marriages in society has failed to benefit 925 couples in Punjab who have been waiting for their Rs 50,000 incentive for the past four yearspunjab Updated: Feb 01, 2018 09:15 IST
A central government’s social engineering scheme to encourage inter-caste marriages in society has failed to benefit 925 couples in Punjab who have been waiting for their Rs 50,000 incentive for the past four years. Reason: The state government’s coffers are empty.
Under the ‘Dr Ambedkar scheme for social integration through inter-caste marriages’, the Centre and the states have to bear the cost in 50:50 ratio. While the Union government has already released its share —the latest being Rs 3.65 crore for the 2017-18 fiscal — the cash-strapped state government is struggling to meet the expenditure.
“As many as 925 cases are pending. The Centre has released its share of rs 3.65 crore for this fiscal. We are awaiting funds from the state exchequer,” said director SC/BC welfare Malwinder Singh Jaggi.
Punjab minister for SC/BC Sadhu Singh Dharmsot showed ignorance over the pending cases.
The largest number of beneficiaries (111) awaiting their money is in SBS Nagar followed by Gurdaspur (100) and Muktsar (84). SBS Nagar district welfare officer (DWO) Rajinder Kumar said: “We have been sending the record every year to the higher authorities and are waiting for funds.” Gurdaspur DWO Sanjeev Manan said no grant was disbursed to beneficiaries after 2011-12.
Under the scheme, one of the spouses has to be from an SC community. The applicants can apply for grant within a year of their marriage. A cheque of Rs 20,000 is paid to the coupe and the remaining Rs 30,000 is given in the form of National Saving Certificates.
Earlier, the scheme was meant only for couples whose income did not exceed Rs 5 lakh per annum but the condition of upper income limit has now been scrapped.
“It is unfortunate that the state has gone back on its promise of supporting such couples despite the Centre’s willingness to provide the financial aid. It will discourage inter-caste marriages in the state,” said advocate-activist HC Arora.
State minister for SC/BC Sadhu Singh Dharmsot showed ignorance over the pending cases. “None of the applicants has approached me. I will look into the matter and if any amount is pending and it will be released soon,” he added.