West Bengal observed the seventh ‘Kanyashree Divas’

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West Bengal observed the seventh 'Kanyashree Divas'
West Bengal observed the seventh 'Kanyashree Divas'

West Bengal observed the seventh ‘Kanyashree  Divas’
– Celebration held from state to districts, blocks and municipalities.
– High-achieving Kanyashree girls felicitated.

The state of West Bengal observed the seventh ‘Kanyashree  Divas’  on Friday, August 14. Unlike every year, during these challenging times that the world is passing through, the day is celebrated throughout the state maintaining all health and hygiene protocols by the Department of Women & Child Development and Social Welfare Government of West Bengal.

On the occasion, the State Government programme on “Kanyashree Divas” was held at Rabindra Sadan, Kolkata in the presence of a small and select gathering. Several publications were released under the “Kanyashree” banner. The Kolkata-based educational institutions which have performed exceptionally well in Kanyashree activities were felicitated along with Kanyashree girls who are being recognized as high-achievers in their academic performance.

In all districts across the State today District, Kanyashree Divas was observed and best-performing educational institutions were felicitated by the District Magistrates. Kanyashree girls with notable achievements were also felicitated in their respective blocks / municipalities.  On this occasion
Mobile tableaus spreading awareness on Kanyashree were carried across blocks and municipalities, with social messages being transmitted through mass media from state to the grassroots.

The Kolkata-based educational institutions which have performed exceptionally well in Kanyashree activities were felicitated along with high-achieving Kanyashree girls will also be felicitated. Similarly, in all districts across the State today, the best-performing educational institutions will be felicitated by the District Magistrates. Kanyashree girls with notable achievements will be felicitated in their respective blocks / municipalities. Sreetama Biswas of Parashnath Balika Bidyalay was facilitated for her stellar performance in table-tennis at state and national level and  Manjari Das of Ashram Balika Vidyapeeth for being a keen karate practitioner and international champion.

Kanyashree Prakalpa is the Government of West Bengal’s flagship scheme for the empowerment of adolescent girls. The scheme is the innovation of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal and has been acknowledged as a best practice the world over.

‘Kanyashree Prakalpa’ was awarded the prestigious United Nations Public Service Award 2017 for reaching the poorest and most vulnerable through inclusive services and participation. In the presence of dignitaries from all over the world, our Hon’ble Chief Minister received the award at a glittering ceremony held at The Hague, Netherlands, on the occasion of United Nations Public Service Day, 2017.

The core of Kanyashree Prakalpa are its Conditional Cash Transfers. Girls between the ages of 13 and 18 years are given an Annual Scholarship (K1) of Rs 1000/-, on the condition that they are in education and unmarried at the time.

The Prakalpa also has provisions where girls between the age of 18 and 19 years are given a One- Time Grant (K2) of Rs. 25000/- provided they comply with the same conditions.
Kanyashree girls pursuing postgraduate studies in certain streams are supported with a monthly stipend (K3). Another significant intervention is ‘Swopno Bhor’, which promotes skill development of Kanyashree girls.

The Scheme’s cash transfers are complemented by a range of ‘cash plus’ interventions designed to improve the confidence and psychosocial well-being of adolescent girls. These include forming peer groups called Kanyashree Clubs and generating awareness on a range of issues, such as health and nutrition, evils of child marriage, and countering gender discrimination in all its forms.

The celebration was attended by Dr. Shashi Panja, WCD& Social Welfare Minister, GoWB, Md. Mohiuddin, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF West Bengal, Secretary WCD and Social Welfare, Chairpersons, Women’s Commission and Child Rights Commission and select board members.

Speaking on the occasion UNICEF CFO said the day recognized that promoting and protecting adolescent wellbeing leads to great public health, economic and demographic benefits. He called on all to invest in the triple dividend: For adolescents now, For adolescents’ future lives, and For the next generation.

Other participants included Addl. SIO & Snr Technical Director, NIC, Executive Director, Jayaprakash Institute of Social Change, Senior Representative Vikramshila Education Resource Society and other senior officials from Social Welfare and ICDS departments of the Government of West Bengal. Owing to the COVID-19 situation only girls recognized for felicitation from different classes in select schools and colleges attended were present at the commemoration of the Kanyashree Divas.

Pratyusha Mukherjee
Pratyusha Mukherjee

By Ms. Pratyusha Mukherjee, an active Journalist working for BBC and other media outlets, also a special contributor to IBG News & IBG NEWS BANGLA. In her illustrated career she has covered many major events.