A look at how the government is working towards the protection and upliftment of the girl child in Indian society through five of its schemes.

5 Government schemes that empower the girl child

Successive governments have launched schemes for the welfare and empowerment of the girl child in India. Concerned ministries like the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of Human Resources have been at the forefront of the implementation of these schemes. 

Let's take a look at five such schemes that have been established to benefit the girl child in India.

1. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is a scheme designed to empower and save girls from issues related to gender bias. Its main aims are to prevent selective (gender-driven) abortion, enhance the survival and protection of infant girls support their education, and eventually increase their participation in society.

With the intention of targeting low child sex ratio, the scheme selects districts with a poor sex ratio before spreading the scheme across the country. It aims to achieve equal value and education for girls through sustained social awareness and communication campaigns. It works in gender-critical districts in the form of intensive and integrated mobilisations and interventions.

The scheme targets young couples, pregnant women, new mothers, and parents in general. It also targets the youth, teenagers, and people engaged in healthcare and medical-related professions.

Related: 7 Government schemes to aid economic development and financial stability that you can benefit from 

2. Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is a government scheme that encourages parents to save for their girl child’s education and marriage. Promoted through post offices and designated private and public banks, the savings are eligible for a significantly higher rate of interest compared to a regular savings account. Over the past two years, the interest rate for this scheme has hovered above 8%.

An account opened under this scheme can be transferred from one bank to another (or post office). Deposits are eligible for tax deduction under Section 80C of the IT Act. The account must receive a minimum deposit of Rs 500 every year. In case of default, a lapsed account can be reactivated by paying a penalty of Rs 50. If the money in the account exceeds Rs 1.5 lakh, no interest will be payable on the excess amount. However, it can be withdrawn at any time. 

Only parents or legal guardians of a girl child aged below 10 can open a Sukanya Samriddhi account in her name. The account will be operational until she is 21. Each girl can have only one such account and there can be no more than two accounts for every family. If you want to know more about Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme, what is it and how it benefits the girl child, read this piece.

3. Balika Samriddhi Yojana was launched with the aim of supporting the birth and education of the girl child. It is trying to improve the attitude of the family and society towards daughters and mothers. The scheme also stresses on enrolment and retention of girl students in schools and makes sure that girls reach legal age before they are married. Additionally, it has been taking measures to empower girls with skills and increase their income-generating capacity.

This scheme, which offers annual scholarships for girl students all the way up to their tenth standard, is available for girls in rural as well as urban areas. It is meant for families who fall below the poverty line and a maximum of two girls from a family can avail of this scheme. 

4. CBSE Udaan is a scheme run by the Government’s Ministry of Human Resources Development through the Central Board of Secondary Education. Targeted at increasing the enrolment of girls in engineering and technical colleges across India, Udaan especially focuses on girl students from economically backward sections of society. 

Under this scheme, girl students in CBSE’s plus-two classes are provided free course material and online resources. Mentoring opportunities are available for meritorious girls, as are helplines for girl students. Constant monitoring and tracking of the student’s progress is enabled.

Related: 6 Government initiatives to support girl-child 

This scheme is open to girls who are Indian citizens and have enrolled in physics, chemistry, or mathematics in classes 11 and 12 of CBSE-affiliated schools. The annual family income must not exceed Rs 6 lakh. Besides, there are merit-based criteria that can vary from subject to subject.

5. Ujjawala is a comprehensive scheme that promotes the rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration of child and adult victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. It undertakes social mobilisation activities in local communities, generates awareness and sensitisation programmes, and organises workshops, seminars, and events. 

The beneficiaries of this scheme are women and children who are either victims or are vulnerable to the threat of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The implementing agencies can be the Indian government, women’s development organisations, urban local bodies, trusts, or even voluntary organisations that meet certain eligibility norms.

Ujjawala works towards the rehabilitation of victims by providing basic amenities, legal aid, skill development etc. It also helps rescued victims to reintegrate with society (or gets them repatriated, in case of overseas victims). 

Look at these government schemes that can help women entrepreneurs in India grow their small businesses.