February 5, 2009 1:26:16 am
For the first time ever,Simra village on the outskirts of Lucknow celebrated the birth of a girl.
Eighteen-day-old Kanshu,who shares her birthday with Chief Minister Mayawati, is the first girl child to receive the benefit of one of the most ambitious schemes of Mayawati Mahamaya Gareeb Balika Aashirwad Yojan.
The chief minister personally handed over the bond of Rs 22,004 to the child on Wednesday. The amount will grow into Rs 1 lakh when Kanshu turns 18 years old.
Born to a family of labourers,Kanshu has not only brought hope for her family but also for all the parents of other girls in the village,which has over 75 per cent Dalit population.
She is our first child. We are a family of eight with just two earning members. Under the circumstances,the birth of a girl certainly gives you sleepless nights, said Babloo Gautam,Kanshus father,a 22-year-old. I hardly earn Rs 1,500 per month,whereas my father manages around Rs 2,000 per month as a labourer.
Even if every member of our family worked for the next 18 years,it would have been difficult to save Rs 1 lakh for Kanshu. Now,instead of worrying about her marriage,we can concentrate on her education, said Gautam.
The eldest son in the family,he had to drop out of school after Class X and become a breadwinner. Even his wife is illiterate,but they have big dreams for their girl child. We will ensure that she gets the best of education in our little income and will help her pursue a career. Since we are not much educated,we hope that Kanshu would bring about a change in our family, said Kanti Devi,Babloos wife.
According to the scheme,the government has decided to deposit around 20,000 to 22,000 in the name of girls born on or after January 15 in a Below Poverty Line family. This fixed deposit will turn into Rs 1 lakh after 18 years and will be given to the beneficiary only if she remains unmarried till that date.
As per the government order,the scheme aims to reduce female foeticide and discourage child marriages in the state.
Soon after Gautam and his wife returned from 5 Kalidas Marg, the official residence of the chief minister,after receiving the cheque,they became the talk of the entire village as people started visiting their house to congratulate them and tell them that how their girl child is actually a Laxmi goddess of wealth.
I have two girls in my family and so does my neighbour. Though we would not get the benefit of this scheme,we have heard that Behenji has announced other schemes for girl children as well, said Shushila Kumari, the Gautams neighbour,who had come to greet the family.
All of us will ensure that Behenji remains in power,so we do not have to bother about the future of our girls. We know as soon as anyone else takes charge,they will abolish these schemes started by our Behenji, she added.
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