January 24 is National Girl Child Day of India. Subha J Rao & K. Jeshi list out things that can make a big difference in her life

For a secure future

To commemorate National Girl Child Day, India Post has launched a special savings scheme. The scheme encourages parents to open a Savings Bank (SB) account for their daughters aged between 10 and 20. They can also open a Recurring Deposit (RD), Monthly Income Scheme (MIS), Fixed Deposits and buy National Savings Certificate (NSC).

There are special prizes for parents who start an account during the National Girl Child Week (January 24 and 30). While they can deposit a minimum of Rs.10 for an RD account, for SB account it is Rs. 50 and for MIS it begins at Rs.5, 000 and goes up to Rs. 6 lakh.

The objective is to have an account in the name of every school going girl. Visit a post office near you to know more.

Save our Girl Child

Sacrifice Friends Club, an NGO run by P.N. Lashmanan, offers a ‘Save our Girl Child’ savings deposit scheme. Lashmanan introduced the scheme in 2011 and it has benefitted 75 girls across Tamil Nadu, including Theni, Cumbum, Salem and Erode.

He identifies families that have three daughters and makes a one-time deposit of Rs. 18, 000 per girl.

When the girls complete 18 years of age, each one gets Rs. 2 lakh. The objective is to stop female infanticide. Call: 84895-84895

To school, to school

The State Government has many schemes for the girl child, each of which has been designed to ensure education for all. Annually, it gives grants ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,500 for Adi Dravidar/tribal girls from Classes III to VIII; and scholarships to encourage SC/ST/MBC girl students from Classes III to VIII. Many private institutions and trusts also offer scholarships for the girl child.

Across the board, banks offer a one per cent concession in interest rates on education loans. Besides that, individually, many banks have schemes for girl students and young women entrepreneurs.

Canara Bank has a scholarship programme, Canara Vidya Jyothi, as part of its corporate social responsibility. Under this scheme meant for SC/ST girls, one student each is chosen from Classes V to VII and given a one-time annual scholarship of Rs. 2,500. For classes VIII to X, it goes up to Rs. 5,000.

Health and Hygiene

A substantial percentage of girls tend to drop out of school after puberty because of lack of proper sanitation in schools. They are also prone to infections in the reproductive tract due to non-hygienic conditions. That situation is changing slowly with many Self Help Groups working in the field. They manufacture and market inexpensive sanitary towels. A. Muruganantham of Jayaashree Industries has pioneered a machine to make these low-cost sanitary napkins. In Tamil Nadu, the machines have been installed in places such as Tirupur, Salem, Sankagiri, Dharmapuri and Karur. “When respected, middle-aged women visit every house in a village and speak one-on-one about the need to stay clean, the message percolates down to the end-user,” he says.