Objectives: Kanyashree Prakalpa seeks to improve the status and wellbeing of girls, specifically those from socio-economically disadvantaged families through Conditional Cash Transfers by:
● Incentivizing them to continue in education for a longer period of time, and complete secondary or higher secondary education, or equivalent in technical or vocational steams, thereby giving them a better footing in both the economic and social spheres.
● Disincentivising marriage till at least the age of 18, the legal age of marriage, thereby reducing the risks of early pregnancies, associated risks of maternal and child mortality, and other debilitating health conditions, including those of malnutrition.
● It was also decided that the Scheme should confer more than just monetary support; it should be a means of financial inclusion and a tool of empowerment for adolescent girls. The scheme's benefits are therefore paid directly to bank accounts in the girls' names, leaving the decision of utilization of the money in their hands.
● To reinforce the positive impact of increased education and delayed marriages, the scheme also works to enhance the social power and self-esteem of girls through a targeted behaviour change communication strategy. The communication strategy not only builds awareness of the scheme, but includes adolescent-friendly approaches like events, competitions and Kanyashree clubs, and the endorsement of strong women figures as role models to promote social and psychological empowerment.
As more and more girls remain in school, it is envisaged that they will use the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge that will help them become economically independent. Even if girls do get married soon after they turn 18, it is expected that their education and enhanced social and emotional development will give them a better foundation for in their adult lives. And over time, as entire generations of women enter marriages only after they have some degree of economic independence, it is expected that the practice of child marriage is completely eradicated, and women will attain their right to health, education and socio-economic equality.
Conditional Cash Transfer Provision: Kanyashree’s core objectives are simple and focussed: it aims to ensure that girls stay in school and delay their marriages till at least age 18. Kanyashree’s approach is also simple: it uses a social safety net mechanism that has shown a high degree of success in transforming the lives of children and adolescents in several countries in the world: Conditional Cash Transfers. The scheme has following transfer component:
● One-Time Grant of Rs. 25,000/-, to be paid after a girl turns 18, provided that she was engaged in an academic or occupational pursuit and was unmarried.
The term ‘education’ encompasses secondary and higher secondary education, as well as the various vocational, technical and sports courses available for this age group. Given that children from socio-economically disadvantaged families are more vulnerable to child marriage, the scheme is open only to girls from families whose annual income is Rs. 1,20,000/- or less. For girls with special needs, orphans and girls in J. J. Homes the income criterion is waived. Girls with special needs, but in a class below class VIII, can also apply for the annual scholarship.
The Form of Kanyashree Prakalpa (a conditional cash transfer scheme under the Department of Women Development and Social Welfare, Government of West Bengal with the aim of improving the status and well being of the girl child in West Bengal by incentivizing schooling of all teenage girls and delaying their marriages until the age of 18, the legal age of marriage) is available from the college office. Eligible girl students are hereby advised to collect the form from the college office. 195 girl students applied for stipend under Kanyasree Prakalpa. Nearly 70 students received the stipend till date.