The Bihar government is planning to give scholarships of Rs 10,000 to all unmarried girls who have cleared their intermediate exams this year. The girl students will be rewarded with the one-time scholarship under the ‘Mukhyamantri Kanya Utthan Yojana’ (MKUY) scheme, which was launched in April.
According to an education department official, the government is already in the process of identifying the beneficiaries of the scheme. “A direction has been given by the education department to all districts to shortlist beneficiaries who cleared the state’s Plus-Two exam, the results of which were declared on June 6, for the state government award,” said Principal Secretary, Education, R K Mahajan. The money will then be transferred directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, Mahajan said.
“The scheme, run by the education department, aims to promote education among girls, besides fighting social evils like child marriage, which, in turn, would lower fertility rate and control population. Only unmarried girls who cleared the Plus-Two exam are eligible for the benefit,” he added.
Under MKUY scheme, approved by the state Cabinet on April 19, female students are eligible for other benefits. A female graduate will be entitled to a sum of Rs 25,000, irrespective of her marital status.
Mahajan also stated that the Nitish Kumar has reserved Rs 1,400 crore for the scheme, adding, “The programme aims to take care of a girl, irrespective of her caste or religion, by providing a total sum of Rs. 54,100 at different stages.”
However, the benefits of the scheme will only be limited to two children per family, while Bihar has a fertility rate of over three. According to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, education for females has helped reduced the state’s fertility rate from 3.9 to 3.2.
“If all the girls in the state study up to class 12 we can achieve the national average in terms of fertility rate or do even better than it As a result, we have decided to open a Plus-Two school in every village,” he had said. The CM also stated that the state’s schemes providing school-going girls with free uniforms, school bags and bicycle, has impacted enrolment in class 9 immensely — rising to 9 lakh from 1.7 lakh in the past.
(With inputs from PTI)