Special Correspondent

Cash package of Rs. 2 lakh to be provided to the girl’s family

Outlay of Rs.10 crore proposed for 2008-09

Railway tickets to carry social messages on Women’s Day

NEW DELHI: The government on Monday launched ‘Dhan Laxmi,’ a conditional cash transfer scheme for the girl child. A significant amount of money will be provided to the family of the girl child on fulfilling certain conditions.

The conditions include registration of birth of the girl, following total immunisation schedule, school enrolment and delaying of marriage until the age of 18 years. In addition, an insurance cover to the tune of Rs.1 lakh will be provided to the girl child at birth, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury said here while launching the scheme.

Announced to mark the International Women’s Day — celebrated on March 8 — Ms. Chowdhury said that in all a cash package of Rs.2 lakh will be provided to the girl’s family, preferably to the mother, through the scheme.

The scheme is to be launched on a pilot basis in 11 educationally most backward blocks of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. It will cover both those living below and above the poverty line. An outlay of Rs.10 crore has been proposed for 2008-09 benefiting 1,01,970 girl children.

Ms. Chowdhury said that the objective of the scheme was to provide a set of staggered financial incentives for families to encourage them for better upbringing of the girl child and to educate her. She said the scheme will also help in changing the mindset of the family towards the girl by linking cash and non-cash transfers of her well-being. This will ensure that the girl child is seen as an asset rather than a liability as her existence will lead to cash inflow to the family, the Minister said.

To mark the International Women’s Day, the Centre will launch a public awareness campaign about women’s issues through railway tickets. Initially, 5-crore tickets will be printed carrying social messages to check female foeticide, child marriage, dowry, domestic violence, trafficking and harassment. She also announced a skill upgradation programme for women, especially destitutes, in private partnership. Under the programme, 100 women will be provided training in different trades and their employment will be facilitated.

The Minister also stressed on making self-defence courses mandatory for girls in all schools. She added that she had written to the Union Human Resource Development Ministry in this connection.