Bhubaneswar: The incentive for inter-caste marriage has been increased to Rs 2.5 lakh from the present Rs 1 lakh.

The state SC & ST development minister, Ramesh Chandra Majhi, said that the incentive amount has been increased to keep pace with the times. The hiked incentives would be implemented with retrospective effect from September 14, 2017 and be given in a marriage between upper caste Hindus and SC Hindus, he added.

Odisha had last time increased the amount from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh in 2017. In the 2017-18 financial year, the State government has awarded about Rs 2.65 crore to 543 couples.

Worth mentioning, the proposal to encourage inter-caste marriages was first discussed in the meeting of the Scheduled Caste Welfare Advisory board in June 2015 under the chairmanship of chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

Official sources said at least 17% of Odisha’s population are Dalits.

The incentive for inter-caste marriages is as high as Rs 5 lakh in Rajasthan.