The state government has decided to bring in Kanyashree beneficiaries of six districts under another successful scheme for girls called ‘Sabla’. An idea has been mulled to let girl students get nutritional food even after Class VIII and, at the same time, get empowered by learning life and vocational skills.
It may be mentioned that at present mid-day meal is provided to all students between primary level and Class VIII. Hence, the state government had initiated a process so as to provide nutritional food to girl students, even after they complete Class VIII, till the age of 18.
Sabla is a scheme for adolescent girls in the age group of 11 to 18 years. The girls will simply need to visit the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and the anganwadi centres to get nutritional food.
At the same time, Kanyashree, the dream project of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is aimed at unmarried girls aged between 13 and 18 years and studying in Classes VIII to XII. These students would get annual scholarship of Rs 500. The students get a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 if they remain unmarried and continue her studies till the age of 18 year. The monthly income of the parents of these beneficiaries must be less than Rs 10,000 per month. Once both the projects are merged, the girls who are enrolled with the Kanyashree project can easily avail the facilities of Sabla scheme too.
In addition to getting nutritional food from schools in their mid-day meals till they pass Class VIII, the girls enrolled in the Sabla scheme will also get food with similar nutritional value from ICDS centres till the age of 18 years.
State Minister for of Health and Family Welfare Dr Sashi Panja said initially the step will be taken in districts including Nadia, Malda, Kolkata, Cooch Behar, Purulia and Jalpaiguri.
It may be mentioned that by clubbing the two successful projects, the girl students will no more have to suffer from lack of nutritional food till the age of 18. Banerjee on Thursday said UNICEF has again acknowledged her government’s pioneering scheme ‘Kanyashree’ in reducing school dropouts and early marriage trends among girls. In secondary level, the dropout among girls has reduced from 23.06 per cent in 2012-13 to 19.79 per cent in 2015-16, she said on Facebook.
“UNICEF has also applauded the state for our interventions in education sector to ensure almost 100 per cent enrollment in primary education,” she said adding, “our children are our future.”