The United Nations has awarded the West Bengal government the first place for Public Service for its “Kanyashree” scheme.
The award ceremony was held at the World Forum, The Hague. A total of 552 projects from 62 countries were nominated for the award. the West Bengal government for the scheme initiated to empower the girl child with an education.
The project was launched in 2011 soon after Mamata Banerjee came to power and has helped more than 40 lakh female students in the state.
A trophy and a certificate were received by the Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee.
The “Kanyashree Prakalpa” is a targeted conditional cash transfer scheme aimed at retaining girls in schools and other educational institutions. It also aims towards skill development and prevents child marriage.
Department of Women Development and Social Welfare, Government of West Bengal (DWD&SW) has designed the Kanyashree Prakalpa – a conditional cash transfer scheme with the aim of improving the status and well being of the girl child in West Bengal by incentivizing schooling of all teenage girls and delaying their marriages until the age of 18, the legal age of marriage. Kanyashree Prakalpa is a West Bengal Government sponsored scheme which will be implemented henceforth in all districts of the State.
Components of the Scheme
The scheme has two components:-
Annual Scholarship of Rs. 500/-(Rupees Five hundred only)
One time Grant of Rs. 25,000/-(Rupees Twenty-five thousand only)
The Annual Scholarship is for unmarried girls aged 13-18 years enrolled in classes VII-XII in government recognized regular or equivalent open school or equivalent vocational/technical training course.
The One-time Grant is for girls turned 18 at the time of application, enrolled in a government recognized regular or open school/college or pursuing vocational/technical training or sports activity or is an inmate of Home registered under J.J. Act 2000
Both the benefits under the scheme will be granted to girls who belong to families with annual family income not more than Rs. 1, 20,000/- (Rupees One Lakh and twenty thousand only. The bar for a family is not applicable if the girl has lost both parents, is physically challenged (40% disability) or is an inmate of J.J. Home.
Given that child marriage has a grossly negative impact on the lives of children, adolescents and young women, this scheme is expected to bring about improved outcomes in terms of their educational status, health (especially facilitate the prevention of infant and maternal mortality) and contribute towards the empowerment of the girls in the State, and bring immeasurable benefits for the larger society as a whole.
All girl children within the age of 13 to 19 years from families with annual income up to Rs 120000/-
Girls regularly attending institutions for education or vocational/sports training
Girls of Child Care Institutes registered under J.J. Act within the age of 18-19 years
For the one-time grant, girls who are completing 18 years on or after 1st April 2013
Approximately 18 Lakhs girl students for the annual scholarship each year
Approximately 3.5 Lakhs girls for one time grant each year
After receiving the award, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dedicated it to the people of her state and the country.
“We are delighted on behalf of our countrymen and the people of Bengal to receive the first prize on UN Public Service Day. Receiving the first prize from the UN for Kanyashree is a huge honour and recognition,” Banerjee said.
‘Kanyashree Prakalpa’ is a targeted conditional cash transfer scheme aimed at retaining girls in schools and other educational and skill development institutions along with preventing child marriage.
The scheme has already enrolled more than four million adolescent girls with the state government transferring a sanctioned some of money directly to the beneficiaries’ bank account.
Over 4 million adolescent girls have already enrolled in the scheme and about $ 500 million handed over to the beneficiaries through their bank accounts, a release from the State government said. The scheme is being implemented through 16000 institutes and schools.