More funds sought to help inter-caste married couples

Each beneficiary entitled to aid of ₹75,000 for setting up means of self-employment

The Scheduled Caste Development Department has sought additional funds to clear pending applications for financial aid for inter-caste married couples.

Inter-caste married couples of whom one belongs to the Scheduled Caste and whose combined annual income is less than ₹1 lakh are entitled to assistance of ₹75,000 for setting up means of self-employment. The department has so far fully utilised the ₹60 lakh allotted to the district for the 2020-21 financial year, with all except two of the 79 applicants receiving the aid. The remaining two are likely to be cleared this month as soon as the beneficiaries submit the requisite documents.

The funds allocated under the scheme, supported by the Central and State governments equally, vary from year to year. For instance, Ernakulam district disbursed ₹1.14 crore to 157 beneficiaries in 2019-20 after the low of ₹43.75 lakh to 69 beneficiaries the year before. This was preceded by a high of ₹1.56 crore to 254 beneficiaries in 2017-18 and ₹70 lakh to 140 beneficiaries in 2016-17.

“We are among the districts that fully utilise the funds and yet we have pendency of nearly 100 applications dating back to May 2019. On an average, we receive two to three applications in a month. We have sought additional allocation, which may be forthcoming if there were unused allocations somewhere else,” said Sunil M.S., district officer, Scheduled Caste Development Department.

Till March 2016, the assistance was pegged at ₹50,000 whereafter it was hiked. Couples looking to avail the benefit should apply within three years of marriage. They should apply with the caste certificates of both husband and wife, income certificates, project report of the proposed self-employment initiative, and co-living certificate issued either by a gazetted officer or by the local MLA or MP.

The assistance is sanctioned straightaway depending on the availability of funds and provided the applications are in order complete with all relevant documents.

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