Single girl children now have a reason to smile even though census figures suggest they continue to be killed at childbirth.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to lift its cap on the number of the post-graduate scholarships offered to single girl children, opening up the scholarship programme to all girls who meet eligibility criteria. The decision was taken in a recent commission meeting, sources said.
Earlier, the Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme was awarded only to 1,200 single girl children in a year.
The decision comes close on the heels of the release of the provisional 2011 census statistics, which showed up a worsening child sex ratio - the number of girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of six. The child sex ratio dropped from 927 in 2001 to 914 in 2011.
“We’ve taken the decision to remove the cap because the number of eligible applicants is increasing each year. The aim of the scholarship scheme is to increase women’s enrolment in higher education and the cap was acting as a deterrent,” a senior UGC official said.
The scheme is open to those girls who are the only child of their parents. Applicants must also be under the age of 30 to be eligible, and must have secured post graduate admission at a recognised university or higher education institution.
The removal of the cap means that all girls who meet these basic conditions are eligible for the postgraduate scholarship.
UGC source said the decision was also aimed at building on gains in women’s enrolment in India over the past decade.
As reported by HT on January 10, the total number of women enrolled in higher education at the start of the 2009-10 academic session — 5, 649, 102 —was 70% higher than the corresponding number —3,325,927 — in 2000-01, according to UGC figures. The number of women enrolled in engineering courses has doubled over this period.