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Bengal’s Kanyashree scheme to be showcased at London summit

Kolkata : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday said the state government’s initiative to empower the girl child – the Kanyashree scheme – will be presented at the first “Girl Summit” to be held in London next month.

Banerjee said the state government has been invited to showcase the scheme at the summit aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage within a generation.

The event will be co-hosted by Unicef which has partnered with the state government to implement the scheme.

“Bengal’s unique Kanyashree Project has received international acclaim. It is indeed a matter of great pride and recognition for our innovative scheme.

“The Department for International Development, United Kingdom and Unicef have selected the scheme for presentation at the ‘Girl Summit’ 2014 to be held in London,” she said on her official Facebook page.

Under the project, the government provides an annual scholarship of Rs.500 to girls between 13 and 18 years (class eight to class 12) to continue their studies, provided they are unmarried and their parents’ annual income is below Rs.1.20 lakh.

However, the income restriction would not be applicable to those who are orphans or are physically challenged.

If a girl continues her studies up to the age of 18, a one-time grant of Rs.25,000 would be deposited in her bank account, provided she is unmarried.

According to government estimates, over 13 lakh applications have been received for the scheme since its inception in October last year.

“The state government has been invited to make a presentation on the scheme before a global audience. We are proud of our girl child. Their all-round development and well being is of prime importance to us,” she said, adding Aug 14 will be celebrated as Kanyashree Day across West Bengal.