The government of Odisha, led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, launched a web portal on Tuesday which would help inter-caste couples getting married get an incentive within 60 days of the application.
As per reports, the Sumangal portal has been launched to promote inter caste marriages because Patnaik believes that such marriages can help bring about social harmony. The portal has been developed by the ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department. In 2018, the incentive for such marriages has been increased from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh.
The incentive amount would be deposited in a joint account of the couple in any nationalised bank and they would be able to withdraw the amount only after three years of marriage. The amount would be given to the beneficiaries, irrespective of their economic background, as per a report in Moneycontrol.
In 2017-18 fiscal, as many as 543 couples availed the benefit, for which the state government spent Rs 2.65 crore as incentive.
To qualify for one time incentive, the marriages need to be valid and registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Either spouse needs to belong to scheduled castes, according to Article 341 of the Indian Constitution. In short, one of the spouses have to be from an upper caste while the other spouse needs to be from a lower caste.
The incentive is only for people getting married for the first time. However, those who are widows or widowers would also be eligible. The incentive is to be used for purchasing land, starting a business and such purposes.
The Odisha government launched another portal, the Integrated Odisha State Scholarship Portal, which will help qualified students apply for and get access to scholarships without hassle. Eight state departments would be offering 21 scholarships and 11 lakh students are expected to benefit from it. These students would belong to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.