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Special Content


Issue no 43, 22 - 28 January 2022

Empowering Girls For A Better Tomorrow

National Girl Child Day is celebrated in India every year on January 24 with the aim of generating awareness on the issue of skewed Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and creating a positive environment around valuing the girl child. The broad objectives of celebrating National Girl Child Day are to highlight the inequalities faced by girls in the country, promote awareness about the rights of a girl child, and generate awareness on the importance of girl education, health and nutrition.

The Government of India is implementing various programmes/ schemes and legislations to address various forms of gender discrimination. For instance, the Bill on Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Act, 2021 was introduced in the Winter Session of Lok Sabha for raising the age of marriage of women from 18 years to 21 years.

The root cause of gender discrimination is the patriarchal mind set prevalent in society. Though this mindset is changing with urbanisation and education, there is still a long way to go for a permanent change in the scenario.

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

 Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme (Celebrate Girl Child, Enable Her Education) was launched on January 22, 2015, at Panipat, Haryana to address the declining CSR. The CSR, defined as a number of girls per 1000 boys in the age group of 0-6 years, declined sharply from 976 in 1961 to 918 in Census 2011. This is a tri-ministerial initiative of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare, and Education, with a focus on awareness and advocacy campaign for changing mindsets, multisectoral action in select districts, enabling girls’ education, and effective enforcement of the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. The scheme aims to prevent gender-biased sex selective elimination, ensure survival and protection of the girl child, build the value of girl child, and ensure education and participation of the girl child. The scheme also envisages to sensitise the masses with the help of nation-wide media campaigns, which among others include social media campaigns, radio spots/ jingles in Hindi and regional languages, video spots, SMS campaigns, community engagement through mobile exhibition vans, and field publicity, mailers, handouts, brochures and other information education communication (IEC) material. The scheme has stirred up collective consciousness about changing the mindset of the nation towards valuing the girl child. It has resulted in increased awareness, sensitisation and consciousness building around the issue of the declining CSR across the country. This is reflected in the improvement of the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) by 19 points at the National level, from 918 in 2014-15 to 937 in 2020-21(HMIS of MoHFW).

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is a small deposit scheme of the Government of India meant exclusively for a girl child and is launched as a part of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Campaign. The scheme is meant to meet the education and marriage expenses of a girl child. Under this scheme, girls have been economically empowered by opening their bank accounts. A minimum of Rs 1000 and a maximum of Rs 1,50,000 can be deposited in a financial year. Some of the benefits associated with opening the account under the yojana include highinterest rate, savings on income tax, and when an account reaches the maturity age, account balance including the interest will be paid to the policyholder.

National Education Policy, 2020

NEP 2020 has introduced the ‘Gender Inclusion Fund’ for targeting the development of girl child by providing quality and equitable education for all girls. The fund will focus on ensuring 100% enrolment of girls in schooling and a record participation rate in higher education, decrease in gender gaps at all levels, practicing gender equity and inclusion in society and improving the leadership capacity of girls through positive civil dialogues. The Fund will also enable States to support and scale effective community-based interventions that address local context-specific barriers to girls and transgender students. NEP 2020 also focuses on the safety and security of school-going girls, both inside and outside of the campus. The schools have to ensure harassment-free, discrimination-free, and domineer-free campus before enlisting for yearly accreditation. Additionally, the Policy will identify social mores and gender stereotypes that prevent girls from accessing education and causing regular dropouts.

Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan

Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education (MoE), is implementing Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan— an Integrated Scheme for School Education (ISSE) under which various interventions have been targeted for girls’ education. Bridging gender and social category gaps at all levels of school education is one of the major objectives of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan. In order to ensure greater participation of girls in education, various interventions under Samagra Shiksha have been targeted. These interventions include the provision of free textbooks and uniforms to girls up to Class VIII, provision of gender segregated toilets in all schools, teachers’ sensitisation programmes to promote girls’ participation, pro-vision for self defence training for the girls from Class VI to XII, stipend to CWSN (Children with Special Needs) girls from Class I to XII, and provision of incinerator and sanitary pad vending machines. In addition to this, to reduce gender gaps at all levels of school education and for providing quality education to girls from disadvantaged groups, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) have been sanctioned in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) under the scheme.

Scheme for Adolescent Girls

Adolescence is a crucial phase as it is an intermediary between childhood and woman-hood. It is the most eventful phase for mental, emotional and psychological well-being. A special intervention for adolescent girls called SAG was devised in the year 2010 using the ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) infra-structure with an aim at breaking the intergenerational life-cycle of nutritional and gender disadvantage thus providing a supportive environment for the self-development of adolescent girls. Realising the multi-dimensional needs of out of school adolescent girls (11-14 years) and with an aim to motivate these girls to join the school system, the Government approved the implementation of restructured Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) to focus on out of school adolescent girls in the age group of 11-14 years in the year 2017-18. The key objective of the scheme is to facilitate, educate and empower Adolescent Girls (AGs) so as to enable them to become self-reliant and aware citizens. The scheme aims to enable the AGs for self-development and empowerment, improve their nutrition and health status, promote awareness about health, hygiene, nutrition, support out of school AGs to successfully transition back to formal schooling or bridge learning/skill training, upgrade their home-based skills and life skills, provide information/ guidance about existing public services.

 CBSE Single Girl Child Scholarship

The scheme envisages providing scholarships to the meritorious single girl student, who is the only child of the parent and has passed CBSE Class X examination with 60% or more and is continuing her further education of Class XI and XII. The scheme is aimed to recognize the efforts of the parents in promoting education among girls and provide encouragement to meritorious students. The Scholarship awarded shall be renewed for a period of one year i.e. successful completion of Class XI. Good conduct and regularity in attendance are required for continuance of scholarship. A Scholarship once cancelled shall not be renewed under any circumstances.

National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education

The centrally sponsored National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE) was launched in May 2008, to give incentive to students enrolled in Class IX. The scheme is now boarded on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP). The objective of the scheme is to establish an enabling environment to promote enrolment and reduce drop out of girls belonging to SC/ST communities in secondary schools and ensure their retention up to the 18 years of age. The scheme covers all girls belonging to SC/ST communities who pass Class VIII and all girls who pass Class VIII examination from KGBVs (irrespective of whether they belong to SC/ST), and enroll in Class IX in State/ UT Government, Government-aided and Local Body schools.

School Curriculum

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has developed syllabus and textbooks across the subjects to promote gender sensitization in the school curriculum. The textbooks at all stages of school education prioritise gender sensitization in designing activities/exercises. Gendersensitive messages have been incorporated in the inside of cover pages of the textbooks and the other supplementary material. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also prepared guidelines for gender sensitivity in textbooks and textual material, including question papers.

 Balika Samriddhi Yojana

The scheme of Balika Samriddhi Yojana was launched with the objective of raising the overall status, education level, and age at marriage of the girl-child and bringing about a positive change in family and community attitudes. The scheme covers up two girl children born on or after 15th August 1997 in a family living below poverty line as defined by the Government of India. BMS is given as a one time grant of Rs.500/- to a mother giving birth to a girl child of BPL families and thereafter, scholarships for each successfully completed year of schooling to be deposited in an interest-bearing account to be opened in the name of the beneficiary girl child. On the girl child attaining eighteen years of age and on production of a certificate from the Gram Panchayat/Municipality that she is unmarried on her 18th birthday, the implementing agency would authorize the bank or the post office authorities concerned to allow her to withdraw the matured amount standing in her name in the interest-bearing account.

Sports

An exclusive component of the Khelo India Scheme focuses on barriers faced by girls and women to take part in sporting activities and creating mechanisms to overcome these and increase participation. There was a 161% increase in women participation at the Khelo India Games from 2018 to 2020.

Compiled by: Annesha Banerjee & Anuja Bhardwajan

 Source:MWCD / PIB / Vikaspedia / UNICEF