Poor families to get incentives to bring up girl childMarch 3rd, 2008 - 6:56 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, Mar 3 (IANS) In a move to stop female foeticide and stabilise the skewed sex ratio, the government Monday announced an insurance cover for poor families with girl children that will see incentives at every step - when she is given vaccinations, sent to school and not married off before 18. Making the announcement, Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury said the scheme would be first started in seven educationally backward states as a pilot project and later extended to the entire nation.
An outlay of Rs.100 million has been proposed that will benefit 101,970 girls. Families will get an insurance cover ranging from Rs.100,000 to Rs.300,000.
The scheme, which promises money whenever a family meets a stipulated criteria, is aimed to stop female foeticide in the country.
Female foeticide is rampant in many parts of India, with the child sex ratio in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Chandigarh marking the lowest at less than 900 girls per 1,000 boys.
The insurance scheme, called Dhanalaxmi (goddess of wealth), is a conditional cash transfer for a girl child with insurance cover (CCT). It will start in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
“People worship the goddess of wealth in temples, but not the girl child at home,” she said, adding “It is a daring project”.
Under the scheme, families with a girl child will get a certain amount every year. The amount for each year is to be decided.
“When a girl child is born, the family will get money. If they give her proper vaccination on time, they will get a certain amount. When they enrol her in school, and as she continues her education, they will get more. The incentive will continue till she attains the age of 18,” Chowdhury said.
“This is to encourage parents to educate the girl child and to help in changing their mindsets towards the girl. This will force them to look upon girls as an asset rather than a liability,” she added.
Chowdhury also said railway tickets would now bear women and child related social messages to create awareness among the general populace. “The social messages will first be in Hindi and English, and later we will print these messages in regional languages too,” she told reporters here.
The aim was to see that the messages reach train travellers cutting across their economic status.
The minister also inaugurated an online tracking system through which organisations could get to know the status of their various proposals made under grant in aid.
Praising the government for a 24 percent increase in the budget allocation for her department, Chowdhury said: “It is unprecedented and will help the department come out with new initiatives for the woman and child.”
Saluting United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for the increased amount, she said it was a revolutionary budget for her ministry that works for empowering women in the country.
Chowdhury said the Congress chief March 8 would present the Stree Shakti Puraskaar at Sri Fort Auditorium to organisations and people doing outstanding work in the field.
Gandhi would also release a book on self-defence. “I will request the human resource development minister to include this book in schools curricula so that girls could learn to defend themselves,” she said.
“Our logo is survival to success, celebrate life. Woman is not dependent on man for her happiness. Empowerment is a way of life,” she added.