Urging society to become progressive and change its perception towards girl child, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Monday said nations cannot grow if they continue to discriminate between children on the basis of gender. He said girls require economic security, just as boys do, and access to quality education and jobs so that they become equal partners in progress and development of the state. “Please provide girls a level-playing field as they have the ability to match and even surpass our expectations,” he stated. The Chief Minister made these observations after formally launching path-breaking Ladli Betischeme, a social security scheme for girls born in low-income families, here at SKICC today. He also launched an insurance-based scheme – AASRA, which aims at providing security to low-income groups, in the event of death or disability. Besides Member Parliament and PDP President, Mehbooba Mufti, Minister for Horticulture, Haj & Auqaf, A. R. Veeri, Minister for Public Works, Floriculture, Gardens & Parks, Syed Altaf Bukhari, Minister for Forest and Social Welfare, Bali Baghat, Advisor to the Chief Minister, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo and Minister of State for Health & Social Welfare, Asiea Naqash were present on the occasion. Referring to the difficult task of bringing up a child, the Chief Minister said Ladli Beti scheme will provide much-needed economic security to the girl child born in a poor family. “It is a revolutionary step towards social security of the girls,” he said, adding the scheme will come as a huge relief to those poor parents who live from hand-to-mouth. Stressing upon providing girl child access to education and jobs, Mufti Sayeed said the government will soon establish IT Parks, both at Jammu and Srinagar, which have the potential to generate employment, particularly for females. He recalled the visit of former Infosys Head N. Narayana Murthy to Srinagar during which Murthy had flagged the issue of bad road connectivity as a major bottleneck to invest in J&K. “I would like to tell the investors now that J&K has come a long way since then,” he said, adding that he has taken up the matter regarding investment in private sector in the state at the highest level. During his speech, the Chief Minister also announced the introduction of Ladli Beti Scheme in district Kishtwar as well. Earlier, the Chief Minister distributed passbooks and registration certificates amongst beneficiaries of Ladli Beti scheme. He also issued registration certificates for beneficiaries under AASRA. Speaking in chaste Kashmiri, Mehbooba Mufti described the occasion to launch Ladli Beti andAASRA schemes as one of the happiest days of her life. She said while people make symbolic gestures towards gender equality, the world continues to be stacked heavily against the girl child. “Real peace and prosperity will only come if we are able to secure the future of our womenfolk,” she emphasized. Urging the government to consider enhancement of ceiling from Rs.75000 to Rs. 1 lakh to bring more families under its ambit, Mehbooba also called for special attention towards education and employment generation for girls. “Huge challenges still remain for empowering women and socially-deprived sections of the society,” she said, while thanking the Chief Minister for bringing Srinagar under the ambit of the scheme as a special case. Calling for attitudinal change in the society towards women, Mehbooba said the girl child is as much a blessing as a boy. She expressed sadness over rising cases of domestic violence against women in Kashmir. “It was painful for me to see as many as 16 burn cases admitted in a hospital as a result of domestic violence though the victims were terrified to divulge the obvious,” said a sombre Mehbooba. Describing female foeticide as a crime against humanity and the biggest sin, Bali Baghat said we would not have had stalwarts like former President Dr. A. P. J. Abul Kalam, tennis star, Sania Mirza and legendary cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar, had their mothers not been allowed to come into this world. “The society needs to change its attitude towards girl child for the world belongs as much to them as us,” she added. Earlier, before the launch of the schemes, Funtoosh Group presented a captivating performance depicting the natural instinct of mother’s affection towards girl child. The performance left the audience riveted. It was followed by a Kashmiri number highlighting the essential elements of the Ladli Betischeme. A comical monologue, reflecting the transformation which the scheme will bring about, evoked hilarious response from the audience. The Ladli Beti scheme has been launched in seven districts of the state including Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama and Anantnag in Kashmir Division. Under the scheme, girls who took birth on or after April 1st 2015 will get Rs.6.5 lakh on attaining the age of 21. Girl child born to parents whose annual income is less than Rs.75000 per annum will be eligible under the scheme. As many as Rs.1000 per month will be deposited towards the birth of every girl child with effect from April 01, 2015 for the next 14 years. The prescribed application form for the scheme is available in the offices of DPO and CDPOs concerned. The scheme has been launched in Jammu while the it will be formally introduced in Budgamtomorrow. The other scheme AASRA is a social assistance scheme aimed at insuring low-income group families having annual income less than Rs.75000. In case of the death of the bread earner, widows and destitute, Rs. 2 lakh will be provided while Rs. 1 lakh will be provided in case of disability due to injury.
2015 Kashmir Despatch