First initiated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008 National Girl Child Day is celebrated in the country on January 24 every year with an objective to provide support and opportunities, health and nutrition, and improve the status of India’s daughters in the society.
The day was celebrated with great enthusiasm by various educational institutions across Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh. On the occasion, several programs were held across the UT with an aim to raise awareness related to the issues of girls which include female infanticide, gender inequality, physical and mental abuse.
LG Manoj Sinha’s government declared 15 per cent seats reservation in non-gazetted posts of J&K’s police for women. He impressed upon women and girls to be agents of change, and that J&K government is committed to ensure Nari Shaktis’ social and economic empowerment. He saluted the daughters of the nation for their accomplishments in various fields and for proving to be the backbone of the healthcare system during the pandemic.
Mission Director (MD) Women Empowerment Shabnam Shah Kamili said that we all are responsible to make women aware of their rights, particularly the Right to Education and equal Dignity as a male child. The Central Government and UT administration have introduced programs and schemes in this regard besides the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. She urged upon people to create an emotional and mental balance in girls.
Almost all educational institutes celebrated through essay writing competitions, slogan making competitions, Pledge-taking ceremonies, etc. Government College of Education Jammu celebrated by motivating young girls to achieve their aspirations and goals fearlessly. The principal highlighted that educating a girl can tremendously contribute to the overall development of the nation; and if you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation). General Zorawar Singh Memorial Degree College Reasi celebrated the day by organizing various activities and rallies to spread the message of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, and a discussion and essay competition on ‘No Girl, No World’.
GDC Kathua organized ‘Kavi Darbaar’ where participants sang against women issues like Dowry, Child Marriage, etc. District Institute of Education Training (DIET) Leh and Kargil in collaboration with Kaivalya Education Foundation (NGO), organized a webinar on ‘Managing student engagement with focus on student mental health’ on eve of National Girl Child Day.
On this day Arshiya Sharma, a student of Kendriya Vidayalaya, Bantalab (Jammu) got an opportunity to interact with Nation’s first fighter pilot Bhawana Kanth in a programme ‘Hamari Beti Hamari Shaan’. Arshia was the only girl from 39 KVs of Jammu region who was selected for this honour.
Government P G College Rajouri held an online quiz competition on the theme ‘First Indian Women in Different Section and Categories of Achievement’. Poonch District Taekwondo Academy organized a webinar highlighting the role of individuals in motivating female children to increase their participation in sports.
The Department of Home Science, University of Jammu organized a talk on the topic ‘Celebrating Girlhood’ to mark this day. GDC R S Pura organized an informative online lecture on the topic ‘Empowering and Nurturing Girls for Brighter Future’ to commemorate National Girl Child Day, lead by the Head of Department of Home Science, University of Jammu. GDC Sunderbani organized a lecture on the topic ‘Declining child sex ratio in India’ in connection with celebration of National Girl Child Day. GDC Batote organized lectures on the themes ‘How to Remove Gender Disparity in the Classroom’ and ‘Significance of Girls in the Nation building’.
J&K remains committed towards bridging the gender gap and ensuring participation of women in the decision making process. Today our sisters are coming out of colleges, excelling in highly specialized areas of health, education, IT, engineering, administrative, arts & crafts, and various other fields. Naya Kashmir framework has radically altered the position of women in Jammu and Kashmir from being a marginal and voiceless entity, frustrated by inequalities, to a resonant, productive and active part of region’s human pool.
A milestone achievement in this direction was ensured last year when the UT’s government reserved 50 per cent seats for female aspirants in medical colleges. Medical seats have also doubled from 500 to 1100 in last year’s academic session. Other recent schemes include the Tejaswini Scheme and Hausla Scheme. Tejaswini scheme aims to empower women through the financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh for setting up gainful self-employment ventures.
The comprehensive HAUSLA – inspiring her growth program aims to promote women entrepreneurship in the UT. Such schemes are made in a scientific manner to create a channel for educated women to explore their potential and subsequently channelize their business acumen. Women are given access to training with focus on building networks, associations, and online marketplaces, along with financial and legal support. In the Back to Village program out of the 19,000 people who received aid, 4,500 who came forward were women. Artisan specific schemes like Virasat Scheme, Term Loan Scheme, Micro Finance Loan Scheme, New Swarnima Scheme, and Women Entrepreneurship Program (WEP) have changed the demography of women in the UT.
As they say, to save a girl is to save generations. And the UT administration is determined to create multiple educational paths, provide financial support, and the much needed counsel and confidence boost, to the torchbearers of tomorrow.