But last month, the Rajasthan government decided to place conditions on couples wishing to apply for financial aid under the Dr Savita Ben Ambedkar Inter-caste Marriage Scheme. Claiming that it aims to discourage “sham marriages”, the government has decided to ban middle-aged and elderly couples from benefitting from the scheme.
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, Congress 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.
So far, inter-caste couples in the state could apply for this grant for up to two years after marriage. But, in a notification dated November 20, the government’s department of social justice and empowerment amended the scheme to restrict the application period to one year after marriage.