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Around 9 lakh girls helped by Bengal's Kanyashree scheme

IANS  |  Kolkata 

Around nine lakh girl students have benefited from the Kanyashree scheme, a programme rolled out by the West Bengal government to prevent girls from being married off in their childhood, a minister said here Wednesday.

Women and Child Development Minister Shashi Panja told the state assembly that till January, 8.3 lakh girl students have received annual stipend of Rs.500, while around 48,000 girls who turned 18 were provided one-time grant of Rs.25,000.

"Our target is to bring 15.52 lakh students under the first kind of benefit by March 2014 and 1.3 lakh students under the second benefit by that time," Panja said replying to questions.

She said the scheme was rolled out to prevent child marriage in the state, where about 54 percent girls are married off before they turn 18.

Responding to a query by a legislator whether the Rs.500 annual scholarship was not a low amount, and if the government was considering proposals to enhance the sum, Panja said more emphasis was being put on extending the second kind of benefit to students.

She said the government has decided to hold a baseline survey to access the project's impact.

The survey would cover 23,000 households and try to ascertain the dropout rates of girl children and the number of them rejoining schools after implementation of the scheme that was flagged off by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Oct 1 last year.

First Published: Wed, February 12 2014. 21:16 IST