The BJP ruled Union Government has decided to discontinue the National Scheme of Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE), aimed at promoting education among girls from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities, Dharmendra Pradhan, the minister of Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of India, announced.
In response to a letter sent by Villupuram MP D Ravikumar requesting for the scheme to be continued, the minister responded that the Expenditure finance committee(EFC) had recommended the discontinuation of the scheme with effect from 2018-19, In 2017 the EFC suggested for the scheme to be redesigned for effective implementation.
The National Scheme of Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education is a centrally sponsored scheme that was launched in May 2008 to promote enrollment of girl children from SC/ST backgrounds in secondary education and also to deter early marriages of girls in the communities.
“The objective of the scheme is to establish an enabling environment to promote enrolment and reduce drop out of girls belonging to SC/ST communities in secondary schools and ensure their retention up to the 18 years of age,” the scheme’s objective reads.
The BJP ruled Union government has been systematically reducing the budget allocation for the scheme in the past two years. If we compare the funding for the scheme in the year 2017-2018 with the year 2020-2021, the funding has been reduced from Rs 320 crore (Rs 3,200 million) to Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million).
“The absence of central government’s schemes such as NSIGSE will leave a gap for the girls who benefit from the incentives. Reduction in early marriages and high school education for girls is an issue that needs a national-level policy direction. The central government cannot pass the buck to the states in this sector”, BehanBox quoted Beena Pallical, General Secretary of National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) told
Girls below 16 years when joining class IX, who belong to SC/ST who pass 8th grade, or who pass grade 8 from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (whether or not they belong to SC/ST), or from Government-aided or local body schools are eligible for the scheme.
However, married girls and those studying in private un-aided schools and enrolled in schools run by Central Government are excluded.
Every eligible girl child had Rs. 3000/- deposited under term deposit/ fixed deposit in a public sector bank or in a post office in their name, the duration of which was to the date on which the girl child attained 18 years. No premature withdrawal was allowed.