Odisha Govt Launches Web Portals For Inter-Caste Marriage, Scholarship For Students

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Odisha Govt Launches Web Portals For Inter-Caste Marriage, Scholarship For Students

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched a portal to facilitate timely scholarship for meritorious students and a dedicated portal, Sumangal, to provide cash incentives for the promotion of inter-caste marriages.

The Odisha government on Tuesday, October 27, announced the launch of two dedicated web portals under its flagship 5T initiative.

To promote inter-caste marriage in the state, a dedicated portal, SUMANGAL, was launched which will provide cash incentives to the eligible couples.

The portal would enable eligible inter-caste couples to get an incentive within 60 days of registering their application.

Launching the portal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said inter-caste marriages help in uniting different castes thereby strengthening the social fabric of the society. Adding, that it reduces caste discrimination, promotes the idea of equality and peaceful coexistence.

The portal has been developed by the ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department. Meanwhile, the incentive for such marriages has been increased from ₹1 lakh to ₹2.5 lakh.

According to a report by the Hindustan Times, to be eligible for such a one-time incentive, the marriage should be between upper-caste Hindus and those from so-called lower castes. Additionally, the marriage should be valid as per the law and duly registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. One of the partners mandatorily should belong to the scheduled castes as defined under Article 341 of the Constitution of India.

The report also mentioned that the grant would be given only to people marrying for the first time. However, if the bride is a widow or the bride-groom a widower, they would also stand eligible for the incentive. An incentive would also be provided for the purchase of lands/household objects or for starting a business.

Detailing about the initiative, ST and SC Development Minister, Ramesh Chandra Majhi, said that 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.

He further added that the amount would be given to the beneficiaries irrespective of their economic background, reported Moneycontrol.

In 2018, as many as 543 couples had reportedly availed the benefits from the incentive which amounted to an expenditure of ₹2.65 crore. Last year, at least 658 inter-caste marriages had taken place. Notably, Dalits comprise at least 17 percent of the state's population.

Over 3,800 married couples availed of the incentives under the provision in the last five years.

Furthermore, to facilitate the timely availability of scholarships to meritorious students in the state, the state government also launched a dedicated portal that will reportedly benefit more than 11 lakh students.

Launching the new portal www.scholarship.odisha.gov.in (http://www.scholarship.odisha.gov.in) under the 5T initiative, CM Patnaik said that now students will no longer have to apply for scholarships through portals of different departments.

With the 5T (Teamwork, Technology, Transparency, Time leading to Transformation) initiative, the state government has been aiming to ensure better service delivery to the public in the higher education sector.

He stated that 21 student scholarships are being provided by six departments and the new portal will enable aspiring students to apply for a scholarship from the comfort of their house.

The Chief Minister said that the new portal will manage the scholarship programs of the ST and SC Development, Higher Education, School and Mass Education, Labour and ESI, Skill Development, and Technical Education and Agriculture departments.

"Only through the use of technology can we provide the public with the best services at the right time with efficiency and transparency. This portal will reduce the distance between government departments and prospective students and they can apply from their homes within a specified time frame," the Chief Minister said at the virtual launch, reported Wion.

"6,00,000 students are benefiting from the program under the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Tribes Development Department alone. Odisha is an example for other states today to bring about change through five programs," said Minister for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Tribes Development, Jagannath Sarka. As the portal is linked to the state treasury, the scholarship money will be directly credited to the bank accounts of the students.

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