In a welcome move to promote social harmony and to aid those in dire need of financial assistance, the Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) of Odisha has come up with a new scheme that assures an award of Rs. 2.5 lakh to be given for the marriage between a person of disability with a person without a disability. 

An official from the SSEPD department said, “The enhanced incentive will enable the couple to lead a normal and dignified life and also encourage people to marry a PwD”.

Earlier, the government was paying Rs. 50,00 for the wedding between individuals who are PwD. For marriages between SC/ST and other castes, the ST/SC Development Department announced a cash incentive of Rs. 2.5 lakh. 

According to reports, the financial aid will be provided to the newlywed after proper scrutiny from the authorities. There are some norms that a couple would have to fulfill in order to receive such an incentive. The couple must complete 21 or 18 years of age respectively on the wedding day. Additionally, either of the spouses must not have received and made use of the scheme earlier. If a couple wants to receive the incentive, an application must be provided to the SSED department along with the marriage certificate. 

The Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Department was created as a separate entity during 2015-16 when it was bifurcated from the Women’s and Children’s Department. Since then it has been working towards the overall development of disabled people, providing pensions to destitute and to PwDs through various schemes and programs and provide social security pension as well. Additionally, the SSEPD has also been working with various departments to come up with schemes for the welfare of senior citizens and people from the transgender community. 

In 2019, Bhubaneshwar Chief Minister Navin Patnaik addressed people on International Persons with a Disabilities Day and said that differently-abled people too are an important part of Indian society and hence the contribution to their development is significant. “It is important to ensure that these people are not deprived of their rights. Their rights shall be protected” Patnaik said.

Naveen Patnaik also added, “The development and empowerment of this section of society is my priority. They have a major role to play in the holistic development of our society. With proper guidance, encouragement and equal opportunities, they can excel in every sphere of life”.