Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday launched the ‘Biju Kanya Ratna Yojana’ (BKRY) and inaugurated 1,000 anganwadi buildings as part of the celebration marking birth centenary of legendary Biju Patnaik.
“The BKRY will create awareness on gender discrimination against girls, their health, nutrition and education,” Patnaik said after launching the scheme. The scheme, announced in the state’s budget, will be implemented in Ganjam, Dhenkanal and Angul districts in the first phase. The three districts were identified as the places where the girl child sex ratio at birth is low in comparison to other districts of Odisha.
According to the provision of BKRY, the state government will spend Rs 3.5 crore for the three-year planned scheme which is expected to be completed by March 31, 2019. The Yojana aims at providing elementary education to girls, provision of toilets for girls in every school, self defence training for girls, tracking dropout ratio of girls from schools, promotion of access to education, sensitising adolescent girls on sexual and reproductive health issues, training of elected representatives/grassroots functionaries as community champions to mobilise communities to improve CSR and girls’ education.
Meanwhile, official data shows that the CSR in Odisha has declined from 967 in 1991 census to 941 in 2011 census. The districts of Nayagarh, Dhenkanal, Angul and Ganjam have the lowest sex ratio of 855, 877, 889 and 908 respectively. As Nayagarh is covered under ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme, three other districts will get the BKRY. As part of the state’s plan to construct 24,000 new ‘anganwadi centres’ in next four years, Patnaik today inaugurated 1000 such new buildings. While the state has as many as 71,306 anganwadi centres at present, only 31,175 centres have their own buildings even as buildings for 15,650 centres are under construction, the Chief Minister said. Panchayati Raj Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo said his department was optimistic to meet the target by 2018.