In Indian family it is not unusual for a child to get a few rupees from an uncle or a grandma leaving after a brief visit. The money is usually spent quickly in sweets, lollypops and toys.
But primary students in schools across south Gujarat have shunned such pleasures and are learning the importance of saving money.
A little-known primary school in Bhata village of Gandevi block in Navsari district is the pioneer of the concept. Students here have collectively saved around Rs. 2.45 lakh.
In 2001, the principal had opened savings bank accounts for the 225-odd children. Students were asked to deposit their pocket money with the class teacher who passed on the amount to the authorities for depositing in the students’ individual accounts.
Since then, students from Class I to VII have saved Rs. 2.45 lakh, including the interests earned, under the ‘Bal Sanchika Yojana’ (children savings scheme).
Though the state government is not directly involved in the scheme, Navsari District Collector R.C.Meena told the Hindustan Times that the experiment inculcates a spirit of saving among the children.
Meena said several other schools in the district have emulated the scheme, though the sum of money saved may not be as high.
The interest earned on the deposits is spent on general welfare of the students, said the District Collector.
A similar scheme to encourage children to save and familiarise them with the banking process had been introduced in government-aided schools in Delhi in the 1960s. It is not known why the scheme was stopped.