The National Council of Churches in india congratulates Ms Mamata Banarjee Honorable Chief Minister of West Bengal State for receiving the prestigious award by United Nations for ‘Revolutionizing Girls Education and Women’s Empowerment’ through ‘Kanyashree Project’. ‘Kanyashree’ was ranked the best among 552 such social sector schemes from across 62 countries that were nominated for the coveted award. The award was presented at the World Public Service Forum by UN Assistant Secretary General at a ceremony in Hague in Netherlands.
The project was launched soon after Mamata Banerjee came to power in 2011 and has helped more than 40 lakh female students in the state. ‘Kanyashree’ scheme for the empowerment of girls including prevention child marriage and education.
‘Kanyasree’ Scheme: The scheme has two parts – a one-time payment and an annual scholarship – and will be available to families whose annual income is less than Rs 1.2 lakh. The one-time payment of Rs 25,000 will be made to the family of a girl if she is part of the education stream and not married off till 18 years of age.
Under the scheme, girl students are being given annual financial grant and a bank account is opened in the name of each girl student where the money is deposited. Also after passing higher secondary level exams, if a girl student continues with her studies for five more years without getting married she gets a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 at the end.
Ms Mamata Banerjee, on Girl Child Day (Kanyashree Divas), announced that “Kanyashree Prakalpa”, a scholarship scheme for school girls, will be included in schools’ academic syllabus. According to her “Kanyashree should be a chapter in education subject. Why should it not be? The girls enrolled in the scheme should provide inputs and we will edit it.” “I am proud of Kanyashree. Girls can now dream because of this scheme,” Ms Banerjee said, adding that she felt that scheme was turning into a social movement.
The Chief Minister directed the officials of the State Women and Child Development Department to ensure that every beneficiary of the scheme be awarded a certificate by the government. She said that the certificate would help girls in higher education. According to the State government, so far 27 lakh beneficiaries are enrolled in the State. The majority of beneficiaries have benefited from Kanyashree I scheme.
To support girls and students Ms Banerjee said that her government would try to provide bicycles to every student studying between Classes VIII to X. In the State, we have provided bicycles to about 3-3.5 lakh girl students, the Chief Minister said, adding that she planned to take the number to 40 lakh. This distribution will be to all students, even boys will get it,” Ms Banerjee said.
Ms Banarjee also plans to introduce ‘Kanyashree Plus Scheme’ . The five-year scheme will aim to include another 1.3 million girls in the list of beneficiaries, over and above the existing 2.5 million girls covered under the existing project. “After arresting the number of school dropouts among girls and restricting child marriage through ‘Kanyashree Prakalpa’, we now want to equip the girls for life. Hence ‘Kanyashree Plus Prakalpa’ will be announced soon. The state will try to ensure the girls can go for higher studies after they turn 18. At the moment there is no plan to offer scholarships. The financial details are being worked out,” said a source in the government. ( source:www.timesofindia.com assessed on 27th June 2017 )
According to Ms Moumita Biswas – Executive Secretary of Women’s Concerns Ministry of NCCI “ “Education of girls and women not only leads to gender equality , but also paves the way for economic growth and promotes sustainable development. It not only empowers girls and women to realize their potentials but also makes them aware of their own human rights. Educated girls will be able to form the next generation of women leaders, and make revolutionary advances toward bridging the gender gap.” Biswas states ” The impact of the ‘Kanayshree Scheme’ in the long run will also help to end gender based violence (which is one of the greatest national problems in India) and will the pave way to build a culture of justice and peace. Education and empowerment constitute one of the top priorities of Churches in India and NCCI commits itself to facilitate the same through creating awareness, and engaging in advocacy among churches and communities. We wish Ms Mamata Banarjee – Honourable Chief Minister of West Bengal State God’s richest blessings.”
Executive Secretary, Women’s Concerns, NCCI