Kolkata, Oct 1:West Bengal has the highest reports of child marriage...not anymore. Hoping for a bright future for the girl child and to prevent child marriages, the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government has launched Kanyashree. A cause
pioneered by social reformers Rammohun Roy and Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, the scheme has two parts-a one-time payment and an annual scholarship.
The scheme will be available to families with an annual income of Rs 1.2 lakhs. The one-time payment of Rs 25,000 will be offered to the girl who is part of tehe education scheme and is not married off below the age of 18 years.
The scheme will be available to families with annual income of Rs 1.2 lakhs.
The annual scholarship of Rs 500 is likely to be paid to girls from class VIII to XII as girls usually dropout at this level.
While launching the project, Mamata Banerjee said,"Kanyashree is aimed at providing some relief to the poor girl students and their empowerment through improved education. Today there were 10,000 beneficiaries, but the target is
to cover 24 lakh in a year," Banerjee said, launching the project. Disabled candidates, however, will not have any income restriction to be eligible for the project.
"Rammohun Roy and Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar had fought child marriage, but girls are getting married at the ages of 12, 13 and 14. Many girls are married off at an early age. We are trying to stop this," Banerjee said.
As thousands of girls thronged the Netaji indoor stadium, in the august presence of Tollywood film stars Proshenjit and Koel Mallick, Banerjee raised a voice against child marriage.
"Child marriage is a social menace. It is a socio-economic problem. I know many poor parents in the country who take recourse to getting their daughters married off at an early age. But, I appeal to them not to forcibly marry off their daughters, but encourage them to study for their bright future," she said.
Assuring poor families of easy money transfer and instant response on application, she further added,"Direct bank transfer of money from the exchequer will start soon, for which 10,000 beneficiaries have been selected today and beneficiaries have bank accounts opened for the money transfer."
Describing the difficult times that the government is going through in collecting the Rs 1000 crore exchequer for the scheme, the chief minister claimed that the central government was taking away large amounts of money from state exchequer in the form of interest payment against loans by the Left Front governmentn that was ousted by the Trinamool.
However, helping her in executing the project were the state chief secretary Sanjay Mitra nd finance minister Amit Mitra.
The project also aims at reducing female foeticide and encourage girls for a brighter future.