After bringing in the anti-conversion law to check forced religious conversions, Yogi Adityanath government is now planning to withdraw a scheme that has encouraged interfaith marriages for almost 44 years.
The Inter-caste and Interfaith Marriage Incentive Scheme has been in place since 1976 and was initiated by the national integration department in Uttar Pradesh.
Under the scheme, an inter-faith couple can apply to the district magistrate within two years of marriage. After verification, the district magistrate forwards the application to the Uttar Pradesh national integration department.
"In UP, 11 interfaith couples were beneficiaries of the scheme last year and got Rs 50,000 each," said a government spokesman.
This year, no amount has been released. The four applications that were filed remain pending.
"The scheme will be reconsidered after the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion ordinance. In any case both work at cross purposes," the spokesman added.
The ordinance, signed by Governor Anandiben Patel on Saturday, makes way for punishment for the forced conversions, including those by marriage.
In 2017, the state government had added a caveat to the scheme -- the interfaith couple could not convert after they got married, or they would lose the incentive.
Uttarakhand, which had adopted the scheme after it was carved out of Uttar Pradesh, is also planning to withdraw the same.
Uttar Pradesh Minister Shrikant Sharma said, "The scheme does exist for now. I cannot comment on its continuation. The ordinance means to stop forced conversion and punish those who hide their identity to cheat their partners."
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed, only the headline has been changed)
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