Following the success of its ‘Kanyashree Prakalpa’ scheme for the girl child, the West Bengal government is now planning to expand the programme by reaching out to educated women in order to help them build their career and livelihood.

"For Kanyashree Prakalpa, the state in the coming years will focus on expanding the communication strategy to establish a more meaningful engagement with girls to understand their needs and aspirations and to devise innovative ways to empower them," Minister for Women & Child Development and Social Welfare Shashi Panja said.

Kanyashree Prakalpa is a conditional cash transfer scheme launched by the West Bengal government in 2013 to improve the status and well being of the girl child in the state.

"In the initial one-and-a-half years, the focus of the scheme had been on ensuring efficiency in the implementation mechanism, capacity building of all implementers and coverage of all eligible beneficiaries," Panja told PTI in an interview.

She said that the state was now looking forward to strengthen convergent responses so that all schemes of relevant government departments are made accessible to Kanyashree beneficiaries.

On the scheme becoming popular, Panja cited the reasons to be its "simplicity of design, easy accessibility, targeted- communication strategy, convergent implementation and focus on raising the financial, social and self worth of the girls".

"Unlike other conditional cash transfer (CCT) schemes for the girl child which give benefits over a multiplicity of outcomes over the life cycle of the child, the scheme’s design has been kept simple and focused. There are two age- appropriate financial benefits and their purpose is immediately linked to the aspirations of its target group (between 13 years and 18 years)," she said.

"The scheme is meant to empower girls, specially from socio-economically disadvantaged families, by giving incentives to them to continue education for a longer period of time. Thereby giving them a better footing in both the economic and social spheres," she elaborated.