West Bengal [WBPSC] Current Affairs - 2020

Kanyashree Prakalpa scheme: West Bengal Government removes lifts family income ceiling

West Bengal Government has announced to remove annual family income ceiling in eligibility criteria to be beneficiary under state’s UN award winning Kanyashree Prakalpa scheme. This will help more girls to chase their dreams with Government support. Currently only girls belonging to families with annual family income not more than Rs 1.20 lakh were entitled to get the benefits of this scheme. State government is also planning to set up “Kanyashree University” under this scheme for girls soon.

Kanyashree Prakalpa scheme

It is conditional cash transfer scheme aimed at improving status and well-being of girl child by incentivising schooling of teenage girls and delaying their marriages until the age of 18. It was launched by Mamata Banerjee led West Bengal Government (Women Development and Social Welfare department) in October 2013. It was aimed at increasing educational attainment of girls, prevention of child marriage and financial inclusion.

Objectives: Improve lives and status of the adolescent girls in State. Provide financial help to girls from disadvantaged families to pursue higher studies (now it will cover every girl from state). Prevent child marriage. Improved outcomes in terms of their health (especially facilitate the prevention of infant and maternal mortality). Contribute towards empowerment of girls in the state. Bring immeasurable benefits for the larger society as a whole.

Targeted Beneficiaries:  All girl children within age of 13 to 19 in the state.  Girls regularly attending institutions for education or vocational or sports training. Girls of Child Care Institutes registered under Juvenile Justice Act (JJ), 2000 within age of 18-19 years.

Components of Scheme

  • Annual Scholarship of Rs. 500: It is for unmarried girls aged 13-18 years enrolled in classes VIII-XII in government recognized regular or equivalent open school or equivalent vocational or technical training course.
  • One time Grant of Rs. 25,000: It is for girls turned 18 at time of application, enrolled in government recognized regular or open school and colleges or pursuing vocational or technical training or sports activity or is inmate of Home registered under JJ Act.

Progress: So far around 50 lakh girls from the state have been benefited by scheme and removal of ceiling will help another three lakh more girls annually. Since its launch, it has helped to reduce number of school drop out of girls by nearly 11.5%.The scheme was awarded United Nations Public Service Award in June 2017.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee passes awayFormer Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee passes away

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee passed away following multi-organ failure in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was 89. He was Speaker of Lok Sabja (House of the People) in first five-year term (2004-2009) of United Progressive Alliance Government.

Somnath Chatterjee

He was born in 1929 in Tezpur, Assam. He was educated at Mitra Institution School, Presidency College and then University of Calcutta in Calcutta. He also attended Jesus College, Cambridge and graduating with BA in 1952 and an MA in 1957, both in Law.

He was awarded honorary fellowship by college in 2007. He was called to bar from Middle Temple in London and took up legal practice as advocate at Calcutta High Court before joining active politics. He joined Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in 1968 and was member till his expulsion in 2008.

He was elected to Lok Sabja (Parliament’s Lower House) for ten times since 1971 (except once when he lost to Mamata Banerjee in the Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency in 1984).  He was expelled from CPM in July 2008 for refusing to resign as Speaker after his party withdrew support from UPA government.