Mukhyamantri bi-cycle Yojana has proved to be a game changer

Patna: Referring to the challenges women were undergoing in the society, Bihar Social Welfare Secretary Prem Singh Meena stressed the need to develop the girl child as an active part of the society saying that the  government was running several schemes for women empowerment and hoped that Bihar will emerge as a national leader in terms of empowering girl population.

Delivering his keynote address in an event organised here by the WCDC, UNICEF and UNFPA to mark the International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) Mr Meena said that there is no hesitation in saying that women in the society are going through challenging situations. To overcome these challenges, many schemes are being run by different departments including WCDC to empower girls. These steps taken by the government for women empowerment have also yielded some positive results, he said adding that   Mukhyamantri bi-cycle Yojana has proved to be a game changer to increase the attendance of girls in schools, provision of 50 percent reservation for women in Panchayats has resulted in their political empowerment. In fact, other states are also adopting Bihar’s model.

He emphasised that there is a need to develop the girl child as an active part of the society. He expressed hope that with the concerted efforts of all stakeholders, Bihar will emerge as a national leader in terms of empowering our girl population. 

Addressing the gathering, Ms. Nafisa Binte Shafique, Chief, UNICEF Bihar, urged all stakeholders, especially Government Departments/Corporations and the Development partners that stepping up investment for adolescent girls is the need of the hour while centering girls in the protection and promotion of rights, delivery of services, and celebrating and supporting their leadership. She said, “Responding to girls’ calls for change, we must move beyond reaffirming commitments, rather invest boldly in the action needed to make that change.” She also lauded the state governments initiatives including Bi-Cycles and Poshak Yojna, Mukhya Mantri Kanya Utthan Yojana, Mukhyamantri Kishori Swasthya Karyakram and especially implementation of PCPNDT Act as high priority under the Bihar State Women’s Empowerment Policy; all of which are enhancing agency of girls in the state. Ms. Shafique summarised the need of investing in adolescents saying ‘Bachcha-Bachchi aagey to Bihar aagey’. 

Highlighting the steps being taken by WCDC,  to ensure leadership and well-being of adolescent girls in Bihar, Bandana Preyashi, MD, WCDC said that the International Day of the Girl Child holds special importance, and let us take this moment today to now take adolescent initiatives/efforts 2.0 i.e. beyond just getting the girls into schools and onto gainful employment. She also highlighted the need for convergence with other departments for holistic support to adolescents and especially adolescent girls. 

She further added that under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme, a two-day program is being organized in all the districts up to the Panchayat level. Under this, cycle rally, conversation over coffee with girl students, screening of inspirational films on womens issues, ANM/Anganwadi workers honouring the girls and their parents immunized in the last two months, street plays, tree plantation and speech and painting competitions are being organized in schools. 

The event also had insightful discussions on the criticality and pertinence of investing in adolescents, especially the adolescent girls in Bihar. The adolescent voices made their representation through a powerful performance by the children from ‘Kilkari’ Bal Bhawan.