Updated: November 17, 2020 11:22:55 am
One of the Delhi government’s major schemes for the benefit of girl children — the Laadli scheme — is reeling under the effect of the Covid lockdown, with a significant slowdown in the number of enrollments so far this year, which experts say could impact the number of girl children joining and staying in school.
Under the Laadli scheme, financial assistance is sanctioned for beneficiary girls starting at their birth and then at various stages of their education up until the senior secondary level. For the enrollment of new babies who can benefit from the first stage of financial assistance, they have to be registered within a year of their birth, and they have to renew it at their schools at various stages of their education journey.
In six months for the 2020-2021 cycle, starting from April and up to September, the scheme received 1,094 new enrolments. This is well below the number of new enrollments in the 2019-2020 cycle, which was 46,660. In 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, the numbers were 67,070 and 60,803 respectively.
An official in the Delhi government’s Women and Child Development department attributed this low number to Covid restrictions. “In order to carry out the new registrations, parents are required to go to district offices. It is possible that because of the various restrictions, they were not able to carry it out this time. There is still time in this cycle, so we will try to make up for this lag,” the official said.
In case of students in school who are applying for the scheme for the first time at a later stage, the last date of accepting new forms has been moved from September 30 to December 31.
“We are trying to spread awareness… we are also trying to make the process online,” said director WCD Rashmi Singh.
Schools have meanwhile received a circular urging them to handhold parents through the process of registering eligible beneficiaries. “During 2020-2021 less than expected number of new registration as well as renewal cases has been received by the department of WCD, GNCTD. As a result, this will not only impact on future allocation of funds due to poor utilisation in the current year but will also deprive many underprivileged girls of the much needed financial assistance under the above scheme,” it read.
Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Anurag Kundu said that the child rights body has not observed a slowdown in registrations for welfare schemes, and said that in fact, there has been a doubling in registrations at anganwadi centres this year.
Under the scheme, financial aid is provided — Rs 11,000 if born in hospital or Rs 10,000 if born at home; and Rs 5,000 each in further five milestones — Class I, VI, IX, XI and XII.
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