National Girl Child Day observed on 24 January 2014 across India by the Government. This day is observed every year to raise awareness and consciousness of the society towards girl children. This year’s theme of Girl Child Day is Safety and Development of girl child. This day is being observed every year on 24 January, since 2008.
Government of India has started National Girl Child Day as a national girl’s development mission. The mission raises the awareness among people all over the country about the importance of girls’ promotion. It helps in enhancing girls’ meaningful contribution in decision making processes by active support of the parents and the community members.
Some Schemes for girls in India
• Dhan Lakshmi Scheme - Government of India (Ministry of Women and Child Development)
• Bhagyalakshmi Scheme - Karnataka
• Ladli Lakshmi Yojana - Madhya Pradesh
• Girl Child Protection Scheme - Andhra Pradesh
• Ladli Scheme – Delhi and Haryana
• Rajalakshmi Scheme - Rajasthan (Discontinued)
• Balika Samridhi Yojana (BSY) - Gujarat
• Beti Hai Anmol Scheme - Himachal Pradesh
• Rakshak Yojana - Punjab
• Mukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana - Bihar
• Mukhya Mantri Kanya Vivah Scheme - Bihar
• Kunwarbainu Mameru Scheme - Gujarat
• Indira Gandhi Balika Suraksha Yojana - Himachal Pradesh
• Mukhya Mantri Kanyadan Yojana - Madhya Pradesh
Most of these schemes are administered through the Department of Women and Child Development using the vast network of ICDS and Anganwadi workers.
The Constitution of India offers all citizens, including children, certain basic fundamental rights. The Directive Principles of State Policy emphasizes that the state needs to ensure that all children are provided with services and opportunities to grow and develop in a safe and secure environment.
However, in the Indian context, the adverse social attitude towards daughters has left girl children vulnerable and at a disadvantage. Their survival, education, health care, development, security and well being are a matter of national concern. A significant impact of this discrimination is reflected in the deterioration of the male-female ratio, particularly among children. The 1991 Census of India indicated worsening trends in sex ratio.
The 2001 Census revealed the gravity of the situation. The dwindling number of girl children on account of increasing incidences of sex selection is a matter of concern in many states. Even after legislations such as the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act of 1994, popularly known as the PCPNDT Act, and many campaigns to promote the value of the girl child, the situation has barely improved.
Programmes and policies clearly state that it is necessary to empower girl children in all aspects of life so that they become equal partners in society. They should be in a position to avail equal freedom and opportunity.
Objective of the National Girl Child Day
National Girl Child day is observed with an aim to ensure that every girl child is respected, valued and treated equally in the society. On this day multi-pronged approach to address and work towards the diminishing child sex ratio in India is taken up by the Women and Child Development Ministry. These initiatives help the country in nurturing the girl child in a way that equal opportunities are given to them similar like the boys.
Earlier on 22 January 2014, the India Post launched a special savings scheme for the girl child between 10 and 20 in age of India. The scheme has asked the parents of girls to open a Savings Bank account. It says that the parents can open
• Recurring Deposit (RD)
• Monthly Income Scheme (MIS)
• Fixed Deposits
• And can also buy National Savings Certificate (NSC)
Parents who open an account during the National Girl Child Week (24 to 30 January 2014) will be given special prizes. India Post has mentioned that the parents can deposit minimum 10 rupees for the Recurring Deposit account, for Savings bank accounts 50 rupees can be deposited and for Monthly Income Scheme can be opened from 5000 rupees and it goes up to 6 lakh rupees.
Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education
To promote enrolment of girl child in the age group of 14-18 at secondary stage, especially those who passed Class VIII and to encourage the secondary education of such girls, the Centrally Sponsored Scheme. National Scheme of Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education was launched in May, 2008.
The Scheme covers
• All SC/ST girls who pass class VIII and
• Girls, who pass class VIII examination from Kastrurba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (irrespective of whether they belong to Scheduled Castes or Tribes) and enroll for class IX in State/UT Government, Government-aided or local body schools in the academic year 2008-09 onwards.
• Girls should be below 16 years of age (as on 31 March) on joining class IX.
• Married girls, girls studying in private un-aided schools and enrolled in schools run by Central Government are excluded.
A sum of 3000 Rupees is deposited in the name of eligible girls as fixed deposit. The girls are entitled to withdraw the sum along with interest thereon on reaching 18 years of age and on passing 10th class examination.
International Day of the Girl Child is observed on 11 October and was declared as a day to be observed by United Nations in 2012. UN declared this day to support more opportunities to a girl child worldwide upon their gender like education, legal rights, medical care, nutrition, child marriage and violence.
Comment: In India there are many government schemes to promote girls education but it has failed till date because of the lack of information transmission. These schemes have also failed to reach the target group even in urban areas. In terms in education girls from the economically weaker section of the country hardly has been able to go beyond eighth or tenth class.