Kanyashree Prakalpa, a landmark initiative implemented by Government Of West Bengal

The Kanyashree Prakalpa, launched by the Government of West Bengal in 2013, is a pioneering initiative aimed at improving the status and well-being of the girl child in the state. It seeks to tackle various socio-economic challenges such as child marriage, school dropouts, and gender inequality by providing financial incentives to encourage the education and empowerment of adolescent girls.

Objectives and Structure of Kanyashree Prakalpa

The primary objective of the Kanyashree scheme is to reduce the incidence of child marriage and increase the educational attainment of girls. By doing so, the scheme aims to ensure that girls remain in school, delay marriage until at least the age of 18, and attain a level of education that can improve their socio-economic status and life choices.

The scheme is structured into two components:

  1. Kanyashree K1: This involves an annual scholarship of INR 1,000 for unmarried girls aged 13 to 18 who are enrolled in classes 8 to 12 in school or equivalent vocational/technical training.
  2. Kanyashree K2: A one-time grant of INR 25,000 is given to girls between the ages of 18 and 19, provided they are unmarried and are continuing their education or training.

Implementation and Reach

Kanyashree Prakalpa is implemented through schools, colleges, and various educational institutions across West Bengal. The application process for the scheme is streamlined to ensure accessibility. Schools play a crucial role in identifying eligible students and assisting them with the application process. The scheme is also supported by a robust IT infrastructure, which includes an online portal for application and monitoring, ensuring transparency and efficiency in the disbursement of funds.

As of 2023, the Kanyashree scheme has benefited over 7 million girls. The widespread adoption and the large number of beneficiaries underscore the scheme’s significant reach and impact across the state.

Impact and Outcomes of Kanyashree Prakalpa

The Kanyashree Prakalpa has garnered international recognition, including the United Nations Public Service Award in 2017, which is a testament to its innovative approach and effectiveness. Several positive outcomes have been associated with the scheme:

  1. Reduction in Child Marriage: Statistical data and various studies indicate a notable decline in child marriage rates in West Bengal since the inception of the scheme. The financial incentive to remain unmarried and continue education until at least 18 has played a critical role in this decline.
  2. Increased School Retention: There has been a marked increase in school retention rates among girls. The financial support provided by the scheme helps mitigate economic barriers that often force girls to drop out of school.
  3. Enhanced Awareness: The scheme has also contributed to raising awareness about the importance of girls’ education and gender equality. It has empowered girls to make informed decisions about their futures and has encouraged families and communities to support girls’ education.
  4. Social and Economic Benefits: Educated girls are more likely to participate in the workforce, have better health outcomes, and contribute positively to their communities and economies. The long-term socio-economic benefits of the scheme are expected to be substantial as more girls complete their education and enter the workforce.

Challenges and Criticisms

Despite its successes, the Kanyashree scheme faces several challenges:

  1. Implementation Hurdles: Ensuring that the benefits reach the most marginalized and rural populations remains a challenge. There are issues related to the documentation required for applications and the need for continuous monitoring and evaluation to address any gaps.
  2. Cultural Barriers: While the scheme addresses economic barriers, cultural attitudes towards girls’ education and child marriage are deeply entrenched and require ongoing efforts in community education and advocacy.
  3. Sustainability: Ensuring the sustainability of the scheme and its long-term impact requires continuous political will, adequate funding, and adaptation to evolving social dynamics.


The Kanyashree Prakalpa is a landmark initiative in promoting the education and empowerment of girls in West Bengal. Its design and implementation offer valuable lessons for similar initiatives globally. By addressing critical issues such as child marriage and school dropouts through financial incentives, the scheme not only helps individual girls but also contributes to broader societal change. The continued success of Kanyashree will depend on addressing implementation challenges, sustaining political and financial support, and fostering a cultural shift towards valuing girls’ education and empowerment

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