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In Photo: Mamata Banerjee with schoolgirls during Kanyashree Divas celebrations at Nazrul Mancha in Kolkata on Friday. Photo courtesy: @AITCofficial

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 14 August: WEST BENGAL Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced that a chapter on her government’s popular scheme Kanyashree will be included to Bengal’s school syllabus in August next year.

Kanyashree is a scholarship scheme introduced by the Bengal government in 2013 wherein girl students between 13-18 years age are provided an annual scholarship of Rs 750. A one-time grant of Rs 25,000 is also provided to unmarried girls of 18+ year age who continue their studies.

Kanyashree should be a subject in our syllabus. A chapter on Kanyashree should be included to our school syllabus. Amongst the Kanyashree beneficiaries who have the expertise, they would draft the chapter and our experts would edit it. It will then be sent to our syllabus committee,” Miss Banerjee announced at Nazul Mancha in south Kolkata Friday afternoon.

“We will formally add the Kanyashree chapter to our syllabus during the Kanyashree Divas celebrations on 14 August next year,” she said.

The Bengal government today organised an elaborate event at Nazrul Mancha to celebrate Kanyashree Divas. Besides the Chief Minister, the event was attended by Louis-Georges Arsenault, the UNICEF Representative to India, and several actresses of the Bengali cine industry.

During the event Miss Banerjee ceremoniously handed over the scholarships to a group of new beneficiaries, marking the inclusion of another two lakh girls to the scheme. Bengal government maintains that with this, the number of Kanyashree beneficiaries now stand at 27 lakh.

Speaking at the event the Chief Minister said that the country’s Independence would be incomplete if women were not free and empowered.

“They are our pride; they are our asset and our future. Our girls shall have to stand up (for their rights),” she said, “There are a few bad elements in our society but they are also part of us: nobody is born a criminal and hence, we must help such persons to rectify themselves.”

Pointing out that Kanyashree scheme has received huge accolades from UNICEF; Miss Banerjee said that her government now aspires to spread it throughout the world as a model scheme for empowerment of the girl child.

Taking a dig at her adversaries, she cautioned them not to insult Bengal by their “relentless attempt to malign” her.