The sex ratio at birth (SRB) in India is 896 females per 1000 males. The huge disparity in the lower number of girls is not a natural phenomenon but an outcome of a dominant patriarchal society. The country talks about economic growth, but illegal practices like female foeticide, infanticide, and sex determination are very common in India.
The trouble for girls does not end at birth. A girl is denied basic rights like quality education. Surveys have found that teenage boys in India are given better food than girls and a woman is still the last member of the house to eat in certain parts of India.
In order to highlight these issues, January 24th is celebrated as National Girl Child Day across India every year, which was started by the Government of India and the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008. Whereas October 11 is celebrated as International Girl Child Day across the globe since 2011.
The governments – both central as well as states – have taken notice of the state of female children in the country, and there have done some commendable work over the last few decades or so to improve the life of a girl child.
On this National Girl Child Day 2023, let us look at some government schemes that aim to encourage India to respect and nurture the girl child.
1. Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22nd January 2015 at Panipat in Haryana. The primary goal of this scheme is to save the girl child from societal issues like gender-based abortions and advance girl child education across the country
BBBP is a comprehensive programme to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and related issues of women empowerment in India. After overseeing an improving trend of Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) in 161 implementing districts, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India launched the All India Expansion of BBBP covering all 640 districts of India at Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan on 8th March 2018.
It is a tri-ministerial effort of the Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development. BBBP Scheme is a Central Government-run scheme with 100% financial assistance for District level components and the funds are directly released to the DC/DM’s account for the smooth operation of the Scheme.
This is mainly an initiative based on education to help improve social perceptions and does not require an immediate transfer of cash. The primary goals of this Girl child welfare scheme include:
– Preventing selective gender-based abortions
– Ensuring girl child survival and security in infancy
– Ensuring girl child schooling and participation
– Challenging gender norms and fostering gender equality
– Giving girls a healthy and secure environment
– Supporting the right of girls to inherit property
2. Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana – Small Deposit Scheme for the girl child
Two of the biggest reasons for discrimination against the girl child are dowry and other marriage expenses. Sukanya Samriddhi Account (Girl Child Prosperity Account) is a Government of India-backed saving scheme targeted at the parents of girl children.
The scheme encourages parents to build a fund for future education and marriage expenses for their female child. The accounts can be opened at any India Post office or any branch of a commercial bank authorised by the central government to open an account
Till November 2017, 1.26 crore accounts were opened under this scheme securing an amount of about 20,000 crores. In less than three years, this scheme has been a runaway success.
3. Balika Samridhhi Yojana
The Balika Samriddhi Yojana is a scholarship programme intended to offer financial assistance for below-poverty-line young girls and their families. The scheme’s main goal is to boost their standing in society, improve girls’ marriageable age, and enhance enrolment as well as girls’ enrolment for studies in school.
This child benefit scheme for girls is provided in both urban and rural areas. Under this, all the eligible beneficiaries are provided with the cash benefit of Rs. after the birth of an infant to the mother of a girl child. Later, a girl child can receive an annual scholarship from Rs. 300 to Rs. 1000 till the 10th while attending school. After reaching the age of 18, the girl can withdraw the balance amount from the scheme. One can download the application form of Balika Samriddhi Yojana from the Women & Child Development Department portal for free.
4. CBSE Udaan Scheme
The CBSE Udaan scheme for girl children is managed and run by the Central Board of Secondary Education via the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. The aim of this scheme is to raise girls’ enrolment across India at prominent engineering and technical colleges. The scheme involves attempts to improve the educational experience with specific emphasis on girl students from economically disadvantaged parts of society. The main features of this scheme include:
– Free course content / online services, such as video learning process for girls in 11th and 12th standard.
– Virtual classes on weekends for girl children of 11th and 12th standards
– Opportunities for peer education and training meritorious girls students.
– Helpline services for studies and clearing doubts
– Steady observation and recording of the progress of the students.
5. National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education
The national scheme of incentive to girls for secondary education is a pan-India scheme operated by the Department of School Education & Literacy, Human Resource Development Ministry, Government of India. The scheme is mainly aimed at benefitting the girls belonging to the backward classes in India and encouraging them to continue their secondary education. Under the scheme, an eligible girl will get Rs. 3000 as a fixed deposit on her behalf, which she can withdraw with interest after the age of 18 and completion of her 10th class exam.
6. Ladli Scheme and Kanya Kosh Scheme – Haryana – A case study for all other states in India
Haryana held the record of the worst sex ratio at birth in India in 2011 with 834 girls for 1000 boys. The state government took various measures to improve the situation on the ground. They launched the Ladli scheme under which all parents who are residents of Haryana or having Haryana domicile are provided with a financial incentive of Rs. 5000/- per year for up to five years whose second girl child is born on or after 20th August 2005 irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, income or number of sons.
This has helped to increase the Sex Ratio at Birth in Haryana to 871 in 2016. This SRB increased to 914 in 2018.
After the stupendous success of this scheme, the Manohar Lal Khattar led Haryana Government launched the “Kanya Kosh” scheme in 2015. The scope of this scheme has been widened and the first daughter would also be covered under it. A sum of Rs 21,000 would be deposited at the birth of the first girl child. This amount would increase to Rs one lakh after the girl attains the age of 18 years.
7. Ladli Laxmi Yojana of Madhya Pradesh
“Ladli Laxmi Yojana” is an initiative of the Madhya Pradesh state government for improving the health and educational status of the girls in the State. It seeks to prevent female foeticide and to bring a positive attitude among people towards girl childbirth and with the aim of preventing child marriages.
Under the scheme, once the beneficiary is identified and approved, National Saving Certificates of Rs. 6000/- is purchased continuously up to 5 years in their name. The beneficiary is given Rs. 2000/- at the time of their admission in 6th class, Rs.4000/- at the time of their admission in 9th class and the remaining amount is to be paid as a lump sum on completion of 21 years of age and on appearing in the examination of 12th class. An important condition to receive the amount at the age of 21 is that the girl should not have been married before 18 years of age.
8. Karnataka Bhagyashree Scheme
Bhagyashree Scheme is a Karnataka government scheme designed to promote the birth of girl child among families below the poverty line. Under this scheme, the government of Karnataka provides financial assistance to the girl child in form of health insurance cover up to a maximum of Rs. 25,000 annually and an annual scholarship of Rs. 300 to Rs. 1000 up to class 10th.
9. Mazi Kanya Bhagyashree Scheme from Government of Maharashtra
The Mazi Kanya Bhagyashree Scheme is a Government of Maharashtra promoted scheme that is designed to help improve the condition of girl child among the BPL and other weaker sections of society. Under the scheme, the girl child’s mother receives Rs. 5000 every year for the first 5 years after the birth of the girl child. Subsequently, financial aid of Rs. 2500 per year is provided to the family of the girl child till she is enrolled in 5th class.
After this, the financial aid for the benefit of the said girl child is increased to Rs. 3000 per year till the gets enrolled in class 12. Once she attains the age of 18 years, she is entitled to receive Rs. 1 lakh annually for her education.
10. Chief Minister’s Girl Child Protection Scheme of Tamil Nadu
The Chief Minister’s Girl Child Protection Scheme of Tamil Nadu is aimed at preventing gender discrimination by empowering and protecting rights of girl Children through direct investment from Government. Under this scheme, if the family has one girl child only, an amount of Rs. 50,000 is deposited in her name if the girl child is born on or after 01/08/2011, in the form of fixed deposit with the Tamil Nadu Power Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited. If the family has two girl children only, a fixed deposit of 25,000 is opened in the names of each of the girls.
In order to meet her education expenses, an annual incentive of Rs.1800 is given to the girl child every year from the 6th year of deposit. The deposit is renewed at the end of every 5 years and on completion of 18 years of age, the amount deposited along with interest is to be given to the girl child. However, to get this benefit, the girl child should appear for 10th standard public examination.
11. West Bengal Kanyashree Prakalpa
The Kanyashree Prakalpa scheme of West Bengal is a state initiative for girl children designed to improve the status as well as the well-being of girls especially those from weaker socio-economic classes. This scheme is implemented by the Department of Women Development and Social Welfare, Government of West Bengal in the form of conditional cash transfers.
The Kanyashree scholarship is Rs. 750 annually for girls between the age of 13 and 18 years along with a one-time grant of Rs. 25,000 for girls between the ages of 18 and 19 years. A girl student is eligible for benefits under the Kanyashree Prakalpa subject to the following criteria:
– The beneficiary must be a resident of West Bengal and have a bank account in her name
– The girl child must be enrolled in an educational institution and unmarried
– The maximum annual income of the girl’s family must be Rs. 1.2 lakh annually.
12. Girl Child Protection Scheme for Andhra Pradesh
The Girl Child Protection Scheme of the Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is aimed at preventing gender discrimination by empowering and protecting the rights of girl children through direct investment from Government. The scheme promotes a girl child’s education to a minimum up to the Intermediate level while preventing early marriages and empowering girls from an early age. It also provides financial benefits to girl children in need.
To qualify for the scheme, the following conditions are to be met by the beneficiary:
1. Girl children born after July 2009 should get immunized completely as per the schedule and produce an immunization certificate by an Anganwadi worker/Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM).
2. A girl child who has been enrolled in the scheme should be admitted into school at the age of five to get the benefit of the scheme. No girl is entitled to receive the maturity value if she has not completed schooling.
3. The head of the Institution, where the child is pursuing studies has to give a certificate every year from Standards 8 to 12 or equivalent to CDPO, certifying that the child is continuing her education during the academic year, to enable her to claim the scholarship every year.
4. No girl will get the final payment of the incentive if she marries before the age of 18.
5. She has to study intermediate (Standard 12) or equivalent to receive the final payment.
6. Even if the girl fails in Standard 12 or an equivalent examination, she will be eligible for the final payment after the completion of 20 years.
7. Along with the application, the following documents are required- income certificate, attested copy of a birth certificate, attested copy of ration card, sterilization certificate issued by Medical Officer, two photographs, and disability certificate issued by Chief Medical Officer (in the case of disabled girls). However, the scheme allows relaxation of age income and formal education for orphans, destitute and girls with disabilities.
Once these conditions are fulfilled, the beneficiary is entitled to:
1. In the case of a single girl child, she is entitled to receive Rs.1 lakh after the completion of 20 years of age.
2. In the case of two girl children, both of them are entitled to receive Rs.30,000 each after the completion of 20 years of age.
3. Both the ‘single girl child’ and ‘two girl children’ are entitled to receive Rs.1,200 per annum as a scholarship from Standard 9 to Standard 12 (including ITI course) during their period of study.
13. Ladli Scheme – Delhi
This scheme was launched in the National Capital Territory of Delhi on 1st January 2008 with the aim of ending discrimination against girls and promoting their education. The scheme aims at enhancing the social status of the girl child both in society and within her family, ensuring proper education to make the girls self-reliant. It attempts to provide economic security and protect them from discrimination and deprivation.
In order to mould the traditional mindset of the people towards the birth of a girl child, the government provides financial assistance at the time of her birth. In order to impart education to girls, increase their presence in schools and reduce their dropout rates, the government sanctions financial assistance to school-going girls.
Another objective of the Ladli Scheme is to encourage the registration of birth of the girl child. The financial partners of the Delhi government for implementing the scheme are SBI Life Insurance Company Limited (SBIL) and the State Bank of India. The financial assistance sanctioned by the government in favour of girls is deposited with SBIL till the girl becomes eligible for claiming the maturity value. The financial assistance under this scheme is restricted to up to two girl children in the family.