At a time when violence against girls are making headlines, Bihar has rolled out a flagship girl-child welfare scheme for providing ‘universal coverage’ to all girls born in Bihar, including incentives to every female Bihar graduate.

Under the ambitious ‘Mukhya Mantri Kanya Utthaan Yojana’ scheme, the state government will spend Rs 54,100 on every girl child born in Bihar who completes her studies till graduation. This includes Rs 25,000 to every female Bihar graduate.

The decision was taken at a special meeting of the state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, on Thursday evening.

“It is a holistic scheme, formulated to provide protection, healthcare and education to girls as well as to make them self-dependent. It aims to stop female foeticide and child marriages, improve sex ratio, and encourage registration and vaccination of girls,” said Bihar Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh.

Calling the scheme a universal one, he said it will be applicable to all sections of the society without any discrimination on the basis of caste, religion or income. “It will cost around Rs 2,221 crore to the state exchequer every year and is likely to benefit about 1.60 crore girls in the state,” he said.

The scheme will provide monetary incentives to every girl child during various phases of her life – right from birth till she completes her basic studies and receives a graduation degree.

At the time of birth, the girl child’s parents or guardians will receive the first installment of Rs 2,000 in their bank account, by the state social welfare department. When the child completes her first year, and her Aadhaar registration is done, her parents will again receive 1,000 rupees. At 2 years of age, when all her vaccinations are complete, the parents will receive Rs 2,000.

Similarly during various stages of her school life, the girl child will money for uniform and other necessities. When she passes Class XII or equivalent, “all unmarried girls” will receive an incentive of Rs 10,000 and when she completes her graduation, she will finally receive a final incentive of Rs 25,000.

“Taking into account already run schemes like scholarship and cycle yojana, the benefits will total to almost Rs 60,000 per girl,” Singh said and added that the scheme has been launched with a view to tackle the problems faced by girl child during the various stages of her development. The scheme, while will be in force applicable from April 2018, is limited to a maximum of two girl children per family.

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