The Hague, Netherlands: On Friday (23rd June 2017), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee received the highest prize in United Nations Public Service Award for the West Bengal government’s Kanyashree Prakalpa (Girl Child) scheme.
Each day, child marriage affects more than 41,000 girls globally. Using Conditional Cash Transfers, Kanyashree Prakalpa (KP) aims to improve the status of adolescent girls from socioeconomically disadvantaged families in West Bengal, India. Two conditional cash transfers are provided – an Annual Scholarship of Rs. 750/- to girls between the ages of 13 and 18, and a OneTime Grant to girls who have reached age 18.
The cash transfers are contingent upon the girls being enrolled in education and unmarried at the time, and are only given to girls from families whose annual income is not more than Rs. 1,20,000/-. Increased educational attainment,prevention of child marriage and financial inclusion are the schemeâ€™s objectives. Simultaneously, through public advocacy and social behavior change communication, Kanyashree works towards creating a supportive environment in which girls are encouraged to express their full potential and are free to become architects of their own lives.
Kolkataâ€™s noted singer Soumita Saha congratulated CM Mamata Banerjee through a tweet. India was named first in the Asia-Pacific group for the category: ‘Reaching the Poorest and Most Vulnerable through Inclusive Services and Participation’. The government of West Bengal was the awarded institution for Kanyashree, which aims to improve status of adolescent girls from disadvantaged families through small cash transfers.
— Soumita Saha (@Soumitaborn2rok) June 24, 2017
According to Soumita, â€œIndia has mostly been a patriarchal society, where women have always been given the role of cooking, cleaning, carrier (offsprings) etc, whereas men have always been theÂ provider.Â With support from Mamata Banerjee now every girl in West Bengal can prove that she’s not born to devote her entire life in kitchen and household. Her initiative resulted into increase in educational attainment, prevention of child marriage and women empowerment. There are families that work day and night to earn their livings. With finantial support from Kanyashree, now every girl is are free to become the architect of their own life. I am absolutely delighted that our chief minister has been honored with United Nations Public Service Award at The Hague. Absolutely proud of her”.
This is not the first award for the Kanyashree Prakalpa. The UNICEF had lauded this programme couple of years ago. The scheme has brought 40 lakh school and college going girls under its ambit who are given a fixed amount of money as scholarships as long as they continue schooling.
Women Empowerment is a topic intellectuals love discussing and delivering long lectures. When we use the termÂ women empowerment, we ourselves accept the fact that women areÂ powerlessÂ in our society. West Bengalâ€™s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched Kanyashree Prakalpa in 2013 to improve the status and well being of girls, specifically those from socio-economically disadvantages families through economic help when needed.