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Termed as appeasement, Mamata bags UN award for Kanyashree

Kolkata: Kanyashree Prakalpa, a pet project of Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, initiated to stop girls dropping out of school and early child marriage, has often been criticized as ‘appeasement’ policy, went on to win the first position at the United Nations Public Service Award in the category, “Reaching out to the poorest of the poor in the society”.

The project launched way back in 2013, is one of the many projects launched by the Bengal chief minister, in which monetary transfers are directly made to the beneficiaries. Under this programme, girls aged 13 to 18 are eligible to receive an annual sum of Rs 750 to pursue her education. Once a beneficiary turns 18, she gets a one-time grant of Rs 25000. This scheme has definitely yielded result in cutting down the number of early marriages in the state. Till date, around 40.33 lakh girls have been benefitted by this scheme.

Minute after the being awarded, Mamata took on to twitter. Her jubilant tweet read, “We are delighted on behalf of our countrymen and the people of Bengal to receive the first prize on @UN Public Service.”

She said, “It is indeed a historic achievement and a proud moment for the people of West Bengal and India.” While her FB post read, “The prestigious award is in recognition of excellence in public service for sustainable development, innovation and our commitment to leave no one behind in the development agenda of our government.”

The UN recognition for this scheme, can be considered a befitting reply from Mamata to her trolls, who often ridiculed her for claiming that Centre’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, scheme had been modeled on Bengal’s Kanyashree.

The award couldn’t even stop opposition from acknowledging Mamata’s work. Her biggest critic, Adhir Choudhary, Bengal state Congress president conceded by saying, “If the United Nations has given this award, then it is appreciable. But then there are other schemes there too. We need to study, how the selection has been made.” On being reminded that earlier UNICEF had also acknowledged the same scheme, he said, “Then it must be appreciated.”

Saradindu Banerjee, president of Kolkata-based NGO space said, “Kanyashree project has now become a ‘global model’ for girl a student, that’s indeed a commendable job done by the state government.”

At a time, when many are doubting the effectiveness of government policies, Bengal’s Kanyashree’s success, shows how a government policy can be turned into a success.

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