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West Bengal Kanyashree Prakalpa

Kanyashree Prakalpa is a West Bengal government initiative that seeks to improve the status and wellbeing of girls, specifically those from socio-economically disadvantaged families through Conditional Cash Transfers.

It is being implemented by the Department of Women Development and Social Welfare, Government of West Bengal.

Rationale

Under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCMA), 18 is the legal age of marriage for girls, and 21 for boys in India. Despite several years of this Act being in existence, the early marriage of children continues to be practiced in West Bengal.

Child marriage is a gendered practice, affecting far more girls than boys. It is perhaps the most prevalent form of sexual abuse of minor girls, and has a negative impact on their health and the health of their children, leaves them financially and socially disempowered, and vulnerable to child labour, trafficking and other forms of exploitation. In fact, the districts with the highest incidence of child marriage in West Bengal are also those where trafficking is rampant.

After the enactment of the PCMA 2006, the Department of Women Development and Social Welfare and Child Development (DWD) implemented anti-child marriage campaigns spreading the message of prevention, and endorsing enforcement of the law and its penal provisions for adults aiding and abetting child marriage,. However it quickly became evident that legal prohibition and social messaging are largely ineffective in addressing child marriage. For one, India's multiplicity of formal and religious laws complicates the issue of what constitutes the appropriate age of marriage for girls. Secondly, because the practice is ascribed to time-honoured tradition and is justified from a patriarchal perspective as essential for protection of girls from the evils of society, eradicating it requires tangible drivers of social change that can transform victims made vulnerable by their age and gender into actors determining their own lives.

Objectives

Kanyashree Prakalpa aims to improve the status and well being of the girl child in West Bengal by

  • Incentivizing them to continue in education for a longer period of time, and complete secondary or higher secondary education, or equivalent in technical or vocational steams, thereby giving them a better footing in both the economic and social spheres.
  • Disincentivising marriage till at least the age of 18, the legal age of marriage, thereby reducing the risks of early pregnancies, associated risks of maternal and child mortality, and other debilitating health conditions, including those of malnutrition.
  • Scheme to confer more than just monetary support; it should be a means of financial inclusion and a tool of empowerment for adolescent girls. The schemes benefits are therefore paid directly to bank accounts in the girls names, leaving the decision of utilization of the money in their hands.
  • To reinforce the positive impact of increased education and delayed marriages, the scheme also works to enhance the social power and self-esteem of girls through a targeted behaviour change communication strategy. The communication strategy not only builds awareness of the scheme, but includes adolescent-friendly approaches like events, competitions and Kanyashree clubs, and the endorsement of strong women figures as role models to promote social and psychological empowerment.

Eligibility

What conditions do I need to fulfill to be eligible for Kanyashree Prakalpa?

While Kanyashrees Annual Scholarship of Rs. 750/- is for girls who are between the ages of 13 and 18 years, the one-time grant of Rs. 25,000/- is for girls who are between the ages of 18 and 19.

However, Kanyashree is NOT for ALL girls. Both the annual scholarship and the one-time grant are only for those girls who are:

  1. Residents of West Bengal AND
  2. Enrolled and regularly attending an educational institution AND
  3. Unmarried AND
  4. From families where the total income is not more than Rs. 1,20,000 per year. However, girls who are specially-abled (with a disability of 40% or more) or are living in a Home registered under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, or have lost both parents, may apply for Kanyashree even if their family's income is more than Rs. 1,20,000 per year.

Is there any other precondition before I apply?

Yes. You must have a bank account opened in your own name and you should mention your name in the application form same as that exists in your bank account.

What kind of educational institution should I be studying in?

Girls will be eligible for Kanyashrees Annual Scholarship or the One-Time grant if they are studying in any one of the following:

  • In Class VIII or above in a school, madrassah or equivalent open school course.
  • In a college or equivalent open university course.
  • A Vocational Training Centre, Technical Training Centre or Industrial Training Centre
  • Girls enrolled in Sports Institutes may apply for the One-Time Grant. They cannot however, apply for the Annual Scholarship. The educational institution MUST be registered in West Bengal AND recognized by the government

When do I apply for Kanyashree Prakalpa?

You should apply for the Annual Scholarship as soon as you turn 13 years of age. you must be studying in Class VIII or above. Although you can apply for the one-time grant anytime between the ages of 18 and 19, it is better to do so as soon as you turn age 18.

Components of the Scheme

The scheme has two components:

  • The first is an Annual incentive of Rs. 750/- to be paid annually to the girls in the age group 13 to 18 years (studying in Class VIII equivalent or above for every year that they remained in education, provided they are unmarried at the time.
  • The second is a One-Time Grant of Rs. 25,000/-, to be paid after a girl turns 18, provided that she was engaged in an academic or occupational pursuit and was unmarried.

Application process

  1. Collect the application form from the institution you are studying in : Applying for Kanyshree Prakalpa is easy – all schools /colleges or institutions with female students will have Kanyashree application forms.
    • Make sure you get the correct form - The application forms for the Annual Scholarship - also called K1, are printed on light green paper, while the One-Time Grant application forms, also called K2 are printed on light blue paper.
    • Girls who have received K1 and are still below 18 yrs fulfilling other conditions. (Renewal): Please get in touch with your Head of Institution who would verify your unmarried status and age and would process your renewal.
    • Girls who have received K1 and have crossed 18yrs now (Up-Gradation): Please collect pre-printed K2 Up-gradation form from the institution, fill it up and again submit. If you have already received K1 please do not fill up the coloured K2 form, you will be treated as a duplicate applicant in that case.
  2. Open a bank account in your name : You must have a bank account in your name when applying for the Scheme. This is because Kanyashrees benefits will be sent by the government DIRECTLY to your bank account. If you do not have a bank account, ask your institutions head teacher to assist you in opening one. Please ensure the spelling of your name do not differ in the bank account and that of the application form.
  3. Fill up the application form : You or your parents need to fill up all the details in the form. Again, your teachers and head teacher may be approached to help if you are not sure what to do. Your form needs to be signed by several people – check page 3 of the application form.
    • Check the spelling of your name you are going to enter in the application form. It must be same as that of your bank account.
    • Please enter your mobile number correctly because you will get updates regarding status of your application on your mobile number entered in the form.
    • Put your signature on page 1, 2 and 3 of the form.
    • Preserve the acknowledgement form for further tracking of your application.
  4. Provide necessary documents : You need to submit photo-copies of the following:
    • Your birth certificate. If you are applying for the Annual Scholarship and do not have a birth certificate, you may ask your head teacher to certify your age from the schools records. However, when your Scholarship comes up for renewal in the following year, it will not be processed unless you obtain a birth certificate in the meanwhile.
    • A statement declaring that you are unmarried. This should be signed by one of your parents.
    • A statement that shows that your family income is not more than Rs. 1,20,000/- per year.
      Note: An income statement however, is not necessary if you are specially-abled (with disability of 40% or more) OR have lost both parents OR are resident of a Home registered under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.
      Instead, If you are specially- abled, please submit a copy of your disability certificate
      If you have lost both parents, please submit a statement signed by your legal guardian stating that both your parents are deceased. Also submit their death certificates.
    • Your bank passbook page which shows your name, address and bank account number or any certificate issued by the bank to this effect.
  5. Collect your acknowledgement receipt : Your Kanyashree application form has a tear-off section on Page 3 titled Acknowledgement as per WBRTPS Act 2013. When you hand over your completed application form to your Head Teacher, he / she will fill the details in, sign it and put an official stamp, tear-off that portion and hand it over to you. KEEP THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT SLIP CAREFULLY – it contains your Form No, name and other details, and is proof that you have applied for Kanyashree.
  6. Check your application status : Once you hand-over a complete application with all supporting documents to your institution, the application is uploaded onto the Kanyashree Portal Once uploaded, your application is in several stages – you can track your application on the portal. To do so, you must know your Form No. (You will find that on the Acknowledgement Slip given to you when you handed in your application to your Head Teacher).
  7. Once your application is sanctioned, your money will go directly to your bank account. The bank will send an SMS to the cell phone number you have mentioned on your form. You may also visit your bank to check if your money has been credited to your account. If after two months of giving in the application, your bank account is not credited with the money, you should take some remedial action. Visit the Grievance section to register your grievance.

Source : Kanyashree portal

Related resources

  1. Kanyashree Prakalpa Nodal Officers
  2. Kanyashree Prakalpa Mobile app


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