RUPANDEHI, Aug 27: In an attempt to curb child marriage and change people's negative thinking toward daughters, two local units in the district of Rupandehi have introduced insurance programs for girl children.
Omsatiya Rural Municipality and Gaidhawa Rural Municipality have been running this campaign to encourage parents to opt for insurance after the birth of daughters. Omsatiya started this program through a child conservation fund last year. Still, a large number communities do not entertain the birth of daughters and marry them off at tender age, which is why the program was launched, says Hira Kewat, Chairperson of Omsatiya.
The insurance will be worth Rs 25,000 where the Rural Municipality will provide Rs 20,000 while the parents will have to pay Rs 5000. This money can be withdrawn only after 20 years. "This will not just help control child marriage but will also be a great help for the education of girls," said Kewat.Parents, who give birth to a daughter, will have to reach the rural municipality with a recommendation from the ward office. Then, they will be provided with a check of Rs 20,000 after which they can open a bank account. As informed by Kewat, 150 parents were recommended last year under this campaign.
The new civil code has fixed 20 years as the minimum age for girls and boys to get married. Omsatiya had sanctioned Rs 10 million for the program last year but could only spend Rs 3 million. Therefore, this year, the local unit has slashed the program's budget to Rs 7 million.
Following in the footsteps of this local unit, Gaidhawa Rural Municipality too introduced this program this fiscal year. Bacchu Kewat, chairperson of the municipality said that parents would receive the insurance amount if they will reach the rural municipality office within 35 days of the birth and with a birth certificate. This year, Gaidhawa has sanctioned Rs 4 million for this program.
Both the local units have dense settlement of Dalits, Madhesi and Tharu people. Poor financial condition and illiteracy is the reason why people of these communities marry their daughters off at younger age and pay no attention to their education.