January 24 – National Girl Child Day 2024 For UPSC

National Girl Child Day is observed on 24 January every year. It advocates for the rights and well-being of girls in society. The observance aims to draw attention to the various challenges and inequalities faced by girls, promoting awareness about their rights, and emphasizing the significance of their education, health, and nutrition. 

By celebrating National Girl Child Day, efforts are made to foster a more inclusive and equitable environment, bridging gender divides and encouraging positive societal attitudes towards the girl child.

Objectives

The objective of celebrating National Girl Child Day are as follows.

  • Highlight the inequalities faced by girls in the country
  • Promote awareness about the rights of a girl child
  • Generate awareness on importance of girl education, health and nutrition

National Girl Child Day 2024

The NGCD 2024 is being celebrated across the nation with objectives of  promoting awareness about the rights of the girl child to bridge the gender divide and to lay emphasis on the importance of girl’s education, health and nutrition.

The celebrations also marks the anniversary of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme.

To create wider awareness and for encouraging a participative spirit, the Ministry of Women and Child has requested all States/UTs to conduct a 5-day special campaign especially designed for public engagement upto the grass root level. 

Activities such as special Gram Sabha/Mahila Sabha on CSR, Oath taking ceremony/signature ceremony, door to door programme, Programme with schools (Govt/Privates)- on value of girl child, Posters/Slogan-writing/ Drawing/Wall Painting competition among school, community sensitization programme, talk show on Health & Nutrition related issues of girls, plantation drive were organized. Local champion in the field of education, sports were honoured/felicitated.

Initiatives for the Well-being of the Female Child

Diverse ministries of the Indian government, including the Ministries of Education, Sports, Skill Development, and the Department of Science and Technology, have embarked on several ventures and programs to advance and empower young girls.

1. National Education Policy (NEP) – 2020

The National Education Policy (NEP) – 2020 has introduced the “Gender Inclusion Fund” to foster the development of the girl child. The Government of India (GOI) will establish a “Gender Inclusion Fund” to ensure quality and equitable education for all girls. 

The fund aims to achieve 100% enrollment of girls in schools, high participation rates in higher education, diminish gender disparities at all levels, promote gender equality and inclusion in society, and enhance the leadership capabilities of girls through constructive civic dialogues. The funds will also empower states to endorse and expand effective community-based interventions addressing specific barriers to education for girls and transgender students.

NEP 2020 emphasizes the safety and security of school-going girls, both within and outside the campus. Schools must guarantee a harassment-free, discrimination-free, and intimidation-free environment before annual accreditation, enhancing the attendance of girl children. The policy will identify societal norms and gender stereotypes hindering girls’ access to education, leading to regular dropouts.

2. Samagra Shiksha

The Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education (MoE), is executing Samagra Shiksha – an Integrated Scheme for School Education (ISSE), incorporating various initiatives for Girls’ Education. Bridging gender and social category gaps across all levels of school education is a key objective of Samagra Shiksha.

To encourage greater participation of girls in education, Samagra Shiksha has implemented various interventions, such as:

  • Establishment of schools in the vicinity as defined by the State.
  • Distribution of free textbooks to girls up to Class VIII.
  • Provision of uniforms to all girls, SC, ST children, and Below Poverty Line (BPL) children up to Class VIII.
  • Installation of gender-segregated toilets in all schools.
  • Teachers’ sensitization programs to enhance girls’ participation.
  • Provision of self-defense training for girls from classes VI to XII.
  • Stipends for differently-abled girls from Class I to Class XII.
  • Residential Schools/Hostels.
  • Construction of residential quarters for teachers in remote/hilly areas or areas with difficult terrain.
  • Moreover, to diminish gender gaps at all levels of school education and provide quality education to girls from disadvantaged groups, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) have been sanctioned in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) under Samagra Shiksha.

3. CBSE Udaan Scheme

The CBSE Udaan Scheme, initiatives for free or subsidized education for the girl child, reservation for women in colleges and universities, and the National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education are notable programs aimed at promoting education for women.

Initiatives of Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports

A distinct element of the Khelo India Initiative concentrates on the challenges encountered by girls and women in engaging in sports and establishes mechanisms to surmount these barriers, thereby amplifying participation. 

The Khelo India Games witnessed a remarkable 161% surge in women’s involvement from 2018 to 2020. The count of female athletes supported under the Khelo India scheme rose from 657 in 2018 to 1471, marking a significant 223% escalation. In September 2018, 86 women athletes were part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), and presently, the number has soared to 190, reflecting a noteworthy 220% increase.

Initiatives of Department of Science and Technology (DST)

The DST has introduced the ‘Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN)’ Scheme, aiming to provide diverse career opportunities for women scientists and technologists. The primary objective is to foster gender parity in the Science & Technology sector by integrating more women talent into the research and development domain through various programs. 

These initiatives include:

  • Women Scientists Scheme encompassing WOS-A, WOS-B, and WOS-C
  • Indo-US Fellowship for Women in STEMM (commenced in 2017)
  • Consolidation of University Research for Innovation & Excellence in Women Universities (CURIE)
  • CURIE-Artificial Intelligence facility (inaugurated in 2019)
  • Vigyan Jyoti (commenced in 2019)
  • National Training Programme for Women Scientists & Technologists (initiated in 2012-13)
  • S&T for Women
  • Women Technology Parks (WTPs)
  • SERB Women Excellence Award

Program for Gender Advancement in S&T Institutions, initiated in 2020, aims to formulate a Charter for Gender Equality in STEM, focusing on instigating transformative changes at the institutional level. 

The project endeavors to establish a novel ecosystem grounded in enhancing the capabilities of institutions and offering sustained mentoring support for transformative achievements.

Initiatives of Ministry of Skill Development

The Ministry of Skill Development is actively working towards creating a conducive environment for skill development among women in India. Among the 33 National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs), 19 exclusively offer skill training for women. Under the Craftsman Training Scheme, 3,400 seats have been sanctioned in NSTIs, and 2,225 seats have been allocated under the Crafts Instructor Training Scheme (CITS).

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