Commitment, conviction and concern are the basis of any revolution; they discriminate a statesman from a politician. The Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi deposits each and every gift/souvenir received by him in the government treasury (toshakhana), for the cause of girl child education (kanya kelavani). A special fund Kanya Kelavani Nidhi has been created for this cause.
In a period of 41 years, his 13 predecessors had deposited a meagre amount of Rs 4.55 lakhs, whereas the present Chief Minister Narendra Modi has deposited Rs 287. 37 lakh in a period of five years. He has, thus, set a new trend?of adding to the state exchequer; a trend that may prove difficult for his successors to follow.
The dedication of a person of the stature of a Chief Minister, deeply influenced the society as a whole. Gradually people were so touched by Shri Modi'scommitment for the cause of girl child education that in public functions, instead of felicitating him by gifts or souvenirs, they started donating cheques for Kanya Kelavani Nidhi. For this benevolent cause, they have voluntarily handed over more than Rs 11 crore to their beloved leader. This only reaffirms that when the intentions are noble and the commitment cent per cent, support flows from all directions.
Kanya Kelavani Nidhi has been created with a long term goal that no girl child in Gujarat remains illiterate; and the efforts have started yielding results. In 2005-6, the drop out rate of girl child has decreased to 5.79 from 20.81 in 2000-01, (std 1 to 5) and to 14.02 from as high as 36.30 (std 1 to 7).
Drooping drop rates on one hand are equally supported by new enrolments through Kanya Kelavani Rath Yatra (girl child enrolment drive), a unique initiative in Gujarat. Since 2003, in the month of June, the Chief Minister along with his team travels to remote villages to encourage parents to enroll their children in schools. It is a three-day long statewide drive covering all the villages and the urban areas in scorching summer heat, An atmosphere of festivity and celebration is created, young children now wait keenly to get themselves enrolled into schools.
Yet another initiative is Vidyalaxmi scheme, introduced in the last five years in villages where female literacy rate is lower than 35 per cent and in the urban areas for the girls belonging to below poverty line families. Vidyalaxmi bond of Rs. 1000/- is given to girl students who take admission in the 1st Std. The girl receives the amount of bond with interest on completion of std 7th. This ensures higher retention rate.
Kanya Kelavani is now a movement in Gujarat addressing the cause in totality. The initiative from the level of Chief Minister has moved the hearts of society and state administration alike. The mood in Gujarat is to set new records; in the area of education in general and girl child education in particular; when the state celebrates its golden jubilee in 2010. (FOC)