Pithoria (Ranchi), Nov. 2: Sana Parveen is one of over 46,000 baby girls in Jharkhand whose lives have been secured financially by chief minister Arjun Munda’s Mukhya Mantri Laxmi Ladli Yojana in the past one year.
“She is the apple of our eyes and her every smile gives us joy. I want her to get good education so that she prospers in life,” said Waris Ansari, father of the cheerful 13-month-old, when The Telegraph visited their home in Pithoria village on the outskirts of Ranchi.
The first child of farmer couple Waris and Hazra Khatun, Sana is eligible for the chief minister’s pet project designed to benefit girls of BPL families.
As Munda’s much-touted Bitia Varsha draws to a close after its launch during last year’s Foundation Day celebrations on November 15, the infant scheme has met with a warm response logging 46,430 registrations until September.
Waris and Hazra are free from gender bias when it comes to caring for Sana, confident with an assurance from the state to deposit a sum of Rs 1.08 lakh in their daughter’s bank account by the time she clears her intermediate exam.
They registered Sana’s name at the Kanke block office in October last year.
“We can afford good dress for her. I also give her good food so that she grows up healthy and fast,” said Hazra.
Ranchi, Hazaribagh and East Singhbhum districts have recorded the highest registrations for Mukhya Mantri Laxmi Ladli Yojana.
According to figures available till September, Ranchi has registered 6,820 girls, followed by Hazaribagh with 5,447 and East Singhbhum with 4,660 beneficiaries.
On the other hand, Sahebganj, Latehar and chief minister Munda’s home district Seraikela-Kharsawan are at the bottom of the table.
Avinash Kumar, secretary of the planning department that is implementing the scheme, said the state had sufficiently publicised the scheme and that villagers were well aware of it.
“Initially, only a few turned up for registration. But gradually, large number of parents of baby girls came forward,” he said, reasoning that “districts which have not fared well may have recorded less girl child births”.
The state government has so far spent Rs 28 crore, depositing the sum in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
According to the scheme, when a girl child belonging to a BPL family is registered the state will deposit Rs 6,000 in her savings account for the first five years. When she enters Class VI, she will get a one-time payment of Rs 2,000. In Class IX, she will get Rs 4,000 and another Rs 7,500 in Class XI. The state will give her a monthly stipend of Rs 200 in Class XII.
The girl is entitled to get over Rs 1.08 lakh when she turns 21 years old, but only if she completes Plus Two and hasn’t married before turning 18.
“The ultimate goal of the scheme is to remove gender bias against the girl child. In the long term, it will help educate girls,” Kumar noted.
Rap on official
The chief minister yesterday ordered action against the district superintendent of education, Deoghar, for giving misleading information on Mukhya Mantri Laxmi Ladli Yojana.
Munda, who is also the minister in charge of Deoghar and Chatra, observed that the scheme was not being executed properly in the district and directed the Santhal Pargana divisional commissioner to compile an annual report.