The National Girl Child Day was observed across India on January 24, 2018. The day is celebrated to increase the awareness among people about all the inequalities faced by the girl child in the society.
Following are some of the main objectives behind the day’s observance:
• To celebrate the accomplishments of girl children and bring focus on important issues such as declining sex ratio, female foeticide, child marriage, gender inequality and disparity in India.
• To highlight the importance of education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care and safety of girl children.
• To develop an enabling environment for girls where they will feel safe and will be able to utilise their potential fully.
• To offer support and expand the scope of opportunities for girls in the nation.
• To remove different types of social discrimination and exploitation faced by with them.
• To raise awareness among the girls that they have equal rights to quality education, health care and nutrition.
• To make girls aware of all their legal and human rights in the country.
Following are some of the schemes introduced by the Union Government to protect and empower the girl child:
1. Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao
The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme was launched on January 22, 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It aims to address the issue of the declining child sex ratio image (CSR) and is a national initiative jointly run by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
It initially focused multi-sector action in 100 districts throughout the country where there was a low child sex ratio (CSR).
2. Sukanya Samriddhi Account
The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 22, 2015 as a part of the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign.
The scheme targets the parents of girl children. It encourages parents to build a fund for the future education and marriage expenses for their female child.
The scheme aims to provide the girl children with better and economically secured future.
Under it, the parents or guardians can open an exclusive account in the name of their daughter with any bank or post office with a minimum amount. Multiple deposits of any value can then be made every year up to 14 years from the date of opening the account.
The deposit shall mature after 21 years. It can be claimed as a deduction under Sec 80C of Income Tax. The interest earned, which is presently 8.4 % per annum is tax-free.
3. Dhanalakshmi Scheme
The Union Government launched the Dhanalakshmi Scheme in October 2016. The scheme is a conditional cash transfer scheme for the girl child.
Under the scheme, 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, the scheme provided an insurance cover of up to Rs 1 lakh to the girl child at birth. The scheme was launched on a pilot basis initially in 11 educationally most backward blocks of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
About the National Girl Child Day
The day was established by the Women and Child Development Ministry in 2008 and since then it is celebrated as a national observance.
On the occasion, various events are organised all across the country to celebrate the day and promote the position of girls in the society.
Besides this, a big campaign is organised by the Union Government to increase people’s consciousness towards girl children and highlight the inequalities faced by them in the society.