India is a country that witnesses a huge school drop-out rate of girl students, particularly when they reach puberty. This deprives the girls of a right to education and encourages child marriages in remote areas despite being illegal in the country. To confront these issues and increase awareness of the importance of educating girls, the Government of India has introduced several schemes to support parents and girl child education. The safety of principal and regularity of interest payments is assured as the Government of India supports these schemes.Read more
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We discuss below four schemes introduced by the Indian Government for the welfare of the girl child:
The literal translation of the scheme is "Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child." The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme is to promote the girl child's safety before and after they are born. It believes in empowering women and creating an inclusive ecosystem for everyone.
Amongst the various girl child welfare schemes, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is construed to be the most popular. Many universities and schools endorse this scheme in different ways. To support the enrolment of students for higher studies, some universities have introduced concessions on registration fees and admission fees for girl students.
This scheme ensures that girls are sent to school, have access to better quality education, and can inherit family property. It offers inclusive benefits and also aims at blocking all discriminations and biases that a girl has to withstand. To put matters in perspective, this scheme aims to ensure that women have a safe atmosphere to survive and thrive.
There are three separate ministries of the Government of India that are involved in the scheme:
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Ministry of Women and Child Development
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Often, scheme applications face clearance bottlenecks, encounter loopholes in the civic administration, and a lack of cohesive approach between the three ministries. The on-field monitoring leaves a lot to be desired.
Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana was launched by the Government of India in 2015 under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign, aiming to address the issue of the declining gender ratio. It is a national initiative jointly operated by various ministries of the Government of India.
The Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana specifically focuses on the girl child and is designed as a small savings scheme that can be used towards the welfare of the girl child, such as higher education and wedding-related expenses.
The account can be opened in the girl child’s name any time before the girl child attains 10 years of age. The first investment can be a minimum of INR 250, and the subsequent investments are to be made in multiples of INR 150, subject to a maximum annual investment limit of INR 1.5 lakh.
The investment process goes on for the ensuing 15 years post which the amount matures, and is ready to be withdrawn. If you invest INR 1.5 lakh annually for 15 years, you will accumulate INR 43.5 lakhs in your account as per the current interest rate of 7.60% per annum.
The age eligibility is below 10 years and is quite appropriate as only when invested in those formative years will the money sufficiently grow when the girls are ready to enter college.
The parent or legal guardian can operate the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana account on behalf of the girl child until she attains 10 years. Post this age, the girl child may operate the account on her own.
The parents or legal guardian can open an account for a maximum of two girl children, including an adopted girl child.
The amount invested in this scheme can avail of a deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Further, this scheme is benefited by a triple exemption, i.e., the amount invested, interest earned and the matured amount are all exempt from income tax.
Even today, the future of a girl child is considered to be limited to her wedding in many parts of the country. However, the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana scheme helps parents accumulate money for wedding expenses. It also takes care of the education costs of the girl child, which is commonly overlooked.
To invest in Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, you need to visit any branch of the Indian Post Office or any commercial bank that the Government approves of India.
This scheme may not be effective in beating inflation. Rs. 40-50 lakh of the present day may not have the same value after 15 years.
No withdrawals are allowed under this scheme until the girl attains the age of 18 years. In the year in which a girl attains the age of 18 years, half of the account balance may be withdrawn for meeting expenses of the girl's education or wedding.
Lower-income group parents of a girl child are worried about several things. Depending on their earnings, sending a girl child to work (e.g. domestic help) seems more appropriate for them than sending the girl child to school.
Moreover, for people living below the poverty line and for low-income groups, to save an annual sum of Rs. 1.5 lakh is a distant dream.
Balika Samriddhi Yojana is another government scheme to support a girl child in financially backward strata of society. This scheme aims to enroll and retain girls in schools. It aims at girl child's prosperity by providing and ensuring quality education.
To be eligible for availing the advantages of Balika Samriddhi Yojana, the girl child should be from a family belonging to the sections living below the poverty line.
One of the motives of Balika Samriddhi Yojana is to eradicate girl infanticide and to break the stigma about a girl-child's birth. The child sex ratio, i.e., the sex ratio at birth for children born in the last five years (female per 1,000 male), as per NFHS-5 (2019-21), is 929 females to 1000 males. However, the number is lower than the national average in several Indian states.
Hence, to create awareness and remove the stigma surrounding the birth of a girl child, girl-empowerment schemes are needed. Such schemes motivate parents of a girl child to educate them and help them be independent and self-reliant.
This scheme is designed to look after every girl child registered under Balika Samriddhi Yojana and helps them be trained in income-generating activities that would make them financially independent.
It aims at ensuring that no girl child becomes a victim of child marriage and attains the legal age of marriage before she is married off.
The drawback of this scheme is that it includes the girl child who is below the poverty line. The scheme does not cover girl children in families slightly above the poverty line who live under trying circumstances.
The scheme needs to be more inclusive as female infanticides prevail in almost every section of society, irrespective of income size.
The Government of Haryana launched this scheme under the state's Ministry of Child and Women's Development. The Ladli Scheme was also launched to break the stigma about the birth of a girl child.
The scheme aims to spread awareness about protecting girl children, improve the sex ratio of the state, and good educational facilities for females across the state.
People domiciled in Haryana or if one of the parents hails from Haryana can avail of this scheme. One needs to produce the domicile certificate.
One of the ways to receive the benefit of this scheme is the registration of the mother and the child at the closest Anganwadi center. A duly filled form of the Ladli Scheme has to be submitted. The sum covered under this scheme is Rs.5,000 per annum, per family for five years.
A Kisan Vikas Patra account needs to be opened in the mother's name. After the girl child crosses 18 years of age, the money accumulated in the Kisan Vikas Patra can be withdrawn.
This scheme immensely benefits parents having two girls in the family. In the event of the birth of the second child, the money is immediately given to the parents in two installments to ensure that the education of the girl child goes undisturbed.
This scheme aims to help curb female infanticide, eradicate the stigma around girl childbirth and ensure better quality education for the girl child.
Since this scheme aims to promote equality, it applies to all sections of people irrespective of their caste, creed, color, and religion. It concentrates on the overall socio-economic welfare of the girl child.
This scheme only covers families having up to two children. As in states like Haryana, even if they skip the female infanticide process, the quest for at least one boy child often leads to neglect of the girl child.
This further curtails the rights of the girl child who are forced into child marriages to take the expenses off the hands of the girl's parents.
Individuals wishing to invest in the above schemes need to submit the following documents:
ID proof: A photo identity card such as an Aadhar Card, PAN Card, voter ID card, passport, driving license, or NREGA issued job card.
Address Proof: Documents proving the residential address such as voter ID card, Aadhar Card, passport, driving license, or NREGA issued job card
Age Proof of Girl Child: Birth certificate that is considered the primary document for establishing the age of a child.
Photographs: Passport-sized photographs of the parent or legal guardian and the girl child have to be submitted along with the account opening form.
The above-mentioned four government schemes in India are aimed at the welfare of the girl child. Keeping a holistic view of the welfare of every girl child in society at large, we must encourage people in our social circles to take benefit of schemes.
The lock-in nature of some of these schemes is aimed to ensure that their daughters reap benefits from such schemes as they grow up. Parents of a girl child should evaluate the above schemes and, wherever applicable, invest the full amount of Rs. 1.50 lakh for the complete duration of the scheme.
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