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Ahead of Gujarat polls, the Modi government has eased a key eligibilty criterion of a scheme that awards Rs 2.5 lakh to newy married couples when one of the spouses belongs to the Dalit community, the Indian Express reported.
Until now, only those couples who had income below Rs 5 lakh could avail the scheme.
The scheme, named after BR Ambedkar, awards newy married couples when one of them belongs to the Dalit community, and is meant to encourage inter-caste marriages.
Intoduced in 2013, the scheme has consistently failed to meet its target of 500 couples every year. As reported by Scroll, only 5 couples benefitted from the scheme in 2014-15. In the subsequent years 72, 45 and 74 couples were awarded.
Several problems have plagued the Dr Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages, one of them being stringent eligibility criteria. For instance, only those marriages solemnised under the Hindu Marriages Act are eligible.
Also, the incentive is awarded to couples only in their first year of marriage and requires recommendation from a legislator or a District Collector.
The BJP has awarded 13 tickets to dalits whereas Congress, the main opposition party has fielded 14.