For empowerment of girls in state Punjab government has introduced a number of new schemes and given incentives in education. SAD-BJP government launched Mai Bhago Vidya Scheme in which girl students of Class XI and XII studying in Government schools are being given free bicycles every year. The SAD-BJP government launched this scheme in year 2011-12 by distributing 1,11,000 free bicycles to girl students worth Rs 30 crore and it was decided to make it an annual feature.
“The state government has continuously been having focus on empowerment of girl students and the scheme has given programme a boost. This is an initiative of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to curb the number of drop out of girl students from schools and motivate them to take up higher education to empower them”, says state Social Securities and Women and Child Development Minister Surjit Kumar Jayani.
Even before the scheme was formally launched, the state government already released Rs 41.90 crore for the purchase of bicycles which have been distributed to the girl students in the schools.The scheme in the first phase benefited as many as 82,244 girls of Class XI and 70,086 girls of Class XII.
Free education to girls
Besides the Punjab government has declared to provide free education to all girls up to Class 12 in the state. The scheme is proving a major relief to poor families who could ill afford education for girls. As per the provisions under the scheme, funds like admission fee, re-admission fee, amalgamated funds, PTA funds, sports funds etc. would be waived off. The government has allocated a sum of Rs.26 crore for this project.
Kanya Jagriti Jyoti Scheme was another scheme initiated by the state government, which aimed at encouraging people to send their daughters to school and sensitizing them about gender equality.
Also taking forward the National Policy on Education (1986), the Punjab government prepared an action plan to increase the number of schools for girls and BPL (below poverty line) students besides providing scholarship schemes for SC/ST and meritorious students.
Bolstering the Union government’s efforts, the state government has also promoted girl education under the the slogan ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao’.
Bal Rakshak Yojna
The state government has launched Balri Rakshak Yojna a state funded scheme, for promotion of cause of the girl-child.
Under the scheme incentive is paid for adopting terminal method of sterilization after the birth of only one or two girl children @Rs.500/- and Rs.700/- respectively. Besides to improve the steep decline in child sex-ratio, implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex-Selection) Act 1994 became the top agenda of the Government.
The government took several steps to create awareness about empowerment of girls through media, art and culture, Panachayats and now social media.
Exclusive girl-child competitions have been organized for under two year girl-child in the State in which baby girls were awarded Kisan Vikas Patras worth Rs.500/- and 300/- as 1st and 2nd prize which on maturity could be used for school education of these girls.
Besides, Istri Sehat Sabha members, NGOs and Anganwari workers have been actively involved for promoting the cause of the girl-child.