Having lost hopes of getting the promised incentive of Rs 500 every month under the Balri Rakshak Yoajna (BRY), after the state government failed to release funds under the scheme post 2013, the beneficiaries finally heaved a sigh of relief after the government opened its coffers.
An amount of Rs 8 lakh has already been released for 24 beneficiaries registered under the scheme with the health department. Each beneficiary will get all pending incentives as per the provisions of the scheme.
Introduced in 2005 by the state government after a considerable decline in girl child sex ratio (0 to 6-year-old age group) raised concern, Balri Rakshak Yojana, a welfare scheme was launched to discourage the social evil of female foeticide and change the attitude of people towards the girl child. It was, however, suspended by the government for an indefinite period in 2016.
With acute shortage of funds and no financial help from the state government, the health department failed to promote the scheme among people and the targeted beneficiaries.
Under the scheme, the government had announced to credit Rs 500 each month into the bank account of parents of every girl who was a single child. Parents who did not pay income tax and opted for sterilisation after the birth of the single girl child were the targeted beneficiaries.
The incentive was ₹1,000 if the couple had two daughters and opted for sterilisation. As per the programme, the girl would get the incentive till she turned 18 or one of the parents became an income-tax payer.
In Jalandhar, three couples were registered under the scheme in 2005, 11 in 2006, one in 2008, two in 2009, two in 2012, and another five in 2013 while no registrations were done in 2014 and 2015. Most of the registered couples hailed from nearby villages and poor localities.
A senior official said lack of funds was responsible for the poor registration under the scheme as the already registered beneficiaries were not getting any help. Further, adding that the promotion of the scheme was not being done and Asha workers were also not receiving any help besides other issues, including fear of permanent sterilisation among couples and tedious procedure.
Meanwhile, he added that the funds will be transferred within a week after completing the formalities.