Maha govt proposes financial incentive scheme for girls



Mumbai: Maharashtra government has proposed a special financial incentive scheme aimed at bringing under its ambit girls from below poverty line (BPL) families.

'Lek Soniyachi', named after UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, aimed at covering 2.72 lakh girls born every year in BPL families, will cost the state exchequer Rs 576 crore of which Rs 273 crore will be spent for the welfare of SCs and STs.

Under the scheme, an amount of Rs 21,200 will be deposited in the name of each girl child belonging to BPL family with insurance company. After the girl attains age of 18, the amount of Rs one lakh will be paid to her.

The girl's birth has to be registered within a year with gram panchayat or municipal council or municipal corporation.

Mumbai: Maharashtra government has proposed a special financial incentive scheme aimed at bringing under its ambit girls from below poverty line (BPL) families.

'Lek Soniyachi', named after UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, aimed at covering 2.72 lakh girls born every year in BPL families, will cost the state exchequer Rs 576 crore of which Rs 273 crore will be spent for the welfare of SCs and STs.

Under the scheme, an amount of Rs 21,200 will be deposited in the name of each girl child belonging to BPL family with insurance company. After the girl attains age of 18, the amount of Rs one lakh will be paid to her.

The girl's birth has to be registered within a year with gram panchayat or municipal council or municipal corporation.

According to Finance Department, the scheme does not explain how it will help in checking female foeticide and bring down the female infant mortality rate.

As per 2001 Census, there are 65,24,694 girls in 0-6 age group. The percentage of girls from BPL category is 25 per cent.

Officials of the Women and Child Development Department have observed that dwindling number of female children, due to female foeticide, is a matter of grave concern.

Despite legislations like the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT) and many campaigns against female foeticide, the situation has not improved.

According to officials, such financial incentive schemes will empower the girl child in all aspects and bring them on par with boys in families.

Interestingly, Social Justice and Special Assistance Department is of the view that the incidence of female foeticide is more prevalent in general category and hence the scheme be implemented for general class as well.

Similarly, the department felt the amount of Rs one lakh is too less by the time the girl turns 18. It felt the need for more concrete steps for empowerment of the girl child.

The Public Health Department said the financial assistance scheme will be applicable for two girls in one family.

"This does nothing to propagate the small family concept. After birth of two girls and taking benefit of the government scheme, parents will want a son," officials said.

The Women and Child Welfare Department will re-submit the proposal before Cabinet with the new name. It will be applicable for two female children in a single family.

Among other eligibility conditions, parents of the girl should be original residents of the state and the girl should at least pass Xth standard and unmarried at the age of 18. If the girl dies or gets married before the maturity age, the amount of Rs one lakh will be deposited in government account.

PTI