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Tamil Nadu - Madurai Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Inter-caste marriage scheme not a hit

S.S. Kavitha

List of beneficiaries shows fluctuation


MADURAI: Response to the State Government’s inter-caste marriage assistance scheme is not all that enthusiastic in Madurai district. According to statistics available with the Madurai District Social Welfare Office, since 2001, the list of beneficiaries of the inter-caste marriage scheme shows a fluctuation in the number of beneficiaries.

In 2001-2002, the scheme benefited 27 couples and in 2002-2003 the number went up to 83. And again, in 2003-2004, it dwindled to 30. Now, the number of beneficiaries for 2007-2008 till November is 60, including 10 under special category where either bride or groom is from Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. In total, the scheme has benefited 376 couples since 2001.

The scheme was introduced in 1968 with an assistance of Rs.5,000 aiming at lessening the social disabilities arising out of caste discrimination faced by young couples from different castes. In 1996, the Government enhanced the benefit amount to Rs.10,000. Now, as per a Government Order dated August 22, 2007, the assistance has been increased to Rs.15,000. It is extended to couples belonging to Backward Class and Most Backward Class (Rs.5,000 in cash and Rs.10,000 in the form of National Savings Certificate).

Similarly, in case of either bride or bridegroom belonging to Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe, a sum of Rs.20,000 (Rs.10,000 in cash and Rs.10,000 as NSC) is disbursed to the beneficiary couples.

Either the couples do not feel confident enough to come forward to claim the incentive, however poor they are or they apply and wait and soon lose their eligibility, according to P. Pandi, who has married a girl from a Scheduled Caste.

Another scheme for widows, Dr. Dharmambal Ammaiyar Memorial Widow Remarriage Assistance Scheme, has also elicited the same response with less number of beneficiaries.

The scheme has benefited 53 persons since 2001.

Awareness of the schemes is very low and hence, this response, says M. Jeyalakshmi, District Social Welfare Officer.

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