NEW DELHI: Women and child development (WCD) minister Krishna Tirath has a word of advice for parents of unmarried girls: save up for an insurance premium rather than dowry. The minister has envisaged an insurance scheme by which newly married girls will be able to access funds in case of a crisis.
Tirath said, “Parents should pay for the insurance premium instead of dowry.” The scheme, she added, was still in the preliminary stages of discussion and she was expecting to meet legal experts and insurance companies later this month.
The minister, in her enthusiasm to announce the initiatives taken by her department in the last 100 days, may have jumped the gun. On being questioned further, Tirath was unclear on who would be insured or how much parents or government may have to contribute to the scheme.
Listing achievements of her department in the first 100 days, Tirath elaborated on the National Mission for Empowerment of Women which is touted to be a single window clearance point for all schemes related to development of women. She also said the amount in the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh had been enhanced from Rs 100 crore to Rs 500 crore, more than 25,000 new Anganwadi centres had been sanctioned and Rs 1,820 crore released for supplementary nutrition.
The government is also working on a mechanism for effective monitoring of Anganwadis for desired improvement in delivery of services. Tirath said the ministry was also working on setting up a fund to assist children affected by disasters like tsunami or terror attacks. “We are also working to bring out a behavioural change in men through teachings at the Anganwadi centres and primary schools,” she said.
The ministry has evolved a new scheme ‘Sabla’ for adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18 years to improve their health status and empower them. The Planning Commission has earmarked Rs 4,500 crore for this. A scheme for conditional maternity benefit, aiming to provide cash transfer to pregnant and lactating mothers to promote their nutritional and health status, is also being formulated, Tirath said.