Amid an increase in the number of inter-caste marriages involving a Dalit spouse last year, a parliamentary committee recommended that promoting inter-caste marriages would help slow down the high rate of atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Despite an increase in inter-caste marriages involving SCs, the crimes against SCs and STs remain high, as per the panel's recommendation.
According to the committee, schemes that foster "social integration and unity while eliminating untouchability and caste-based discrimination" should be implemented in states where atrocities are prevalent, The Times Of India reported.
Last year, the central scheme "incentive for inter-caste marriage" recorded an increase in the claims. In the year 2016-17, the claims made were 17,263. In 2017-18, it increased to 20,253, and in 2019-20, it reached up 23,355 claims. Under this scheme, every couple with one SC spouse receives a cash incentive.
The parliamentary standing committee on social justice and empowerment, headed by BJP MP Rama Devi, voiced concern in its report on Demand for Grants for 2021-22 regarding atrocities that persist despite all the laws and programmes in place to fight untouchability and caste-based discrimination.
The panel noted that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recorded 2,02,427 atrocity cases against SCs and 33949 cases against STs between 2015 and 2019.
"Unfortunately, this figure may actually be higher as several cases go unreported. The committee feels sincere efforts at the execution level to create awareness and sensitise people to come out of their prejudices and bias against the SCs and creation of an equal society are urgently required. Some of the states still have a glaring number of atrocity cases despite prevailing laws," the panel said.
The panel highlighted the importance of introducing beneficiary schemes by the government in states that report an increasing number of atrocities.
It also suggested that the proper monitoring mechanism would help promote social integration and harmony, which would lead to the eradication of untouchability and caste-based discrimination.
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