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Bangaru Talli will enhance social status of the girl child

Bangaru Talli will enhance social  status of the girl child
Highlights

From a promising IAS aspirant and a modest and devoted homemaker, her tryst with politics was quite unexpected. After her husband and Congress leader...

From a promising IAS aspirant and a modest and devoted homemaker, her tryst with politics was quite unexpected. After her husband and Congress leader Lakshma Reddy's untimely demise, Sunitha was fondly asked to take the political path by her husband's colleagues and followers, and she did it willingly as it was her deep cherished desire to serve the public in some manner. The politics came handy and there was no looking behind. Simple, down-to-earth and always smiling, Sunitha Lakshma Reddy loves her job as the Minister for Women and Child Welfare, Kranthi Yojna and Pensions. A third time winner from Narsapur Assembly Constituency on a Congress ticket, she earlier served as Minister for Minor Irrigation in the cabinets led by Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy and then K Rosaiah. Her scheme 'Bangaru Talli' is widely appreciated. This non-controversial minister is the brain behind the scheme meant for the welfare of the girl child. The scheme was originally designed to provide financial assistance to girls belonging to backward classes, but the minister, however, saw to it that the scheme is extended to all the poor girls The buzz is that she is in the race for the Home Minister's position left vacant by Sabitha Indra Reddy's unexpected exit. The mother of two bared her heart to Lata Jain in a freewheeling chat.
Excerpts:
You got into politics after your husband Sri Lakshma Reddys death. You were new to politics, how did you manage? My husband and the father-in-law were active in politics. I used to listen to their conversations. I did assist my husband though I was a housewife. So this political background helped me. In the beginning it was difficult but thanks to my seniors they guided me and helped gain experience. I won the elections thrice and now I have people's support too.
Bangaru Thalli, a project well appreciated has brought a lot of goodwill for you. What is it all about?
The primary objective of 'Bangaru Thalli' scheme is to enhance the social status of the Girl Child and delay her age of marriage which is very important from the health and educational perspective. The scheme aims to incentivise institutional delivery, registration of birth, immunisation, anganwadi enrolment leading to better nutrition and improving the educational standard of the Girl Child by ensuring retention at the primary, upper primary, secondary and higher education levels. Bangaru Talli seeks to achieve these objectives by cash transfer. Under the scheme, a girl born in a BPL family after April 30, 2013, would be provided cash incentives totalling Rs 1.5 lakh till she completes college. - The state will pay Rs 1000 per month to the mother from the time she conceives till the child's birth and if a girl child is born, mother will be given Rs 2,500 at the delivery time. If the girl stops her education at plus two, Rs 50, 000 will be paid towards her marriage expenses and it will be Rs 1 lakh if she opts for marriage after graduation. Another project Indiramma Amrutha Hastham (IAH) scheme was launched but it has run into problems. Your comments. The project is successful and there are no problems of funds or functioning. The Indiramma Amrutha Hastham (IAH) scheme was launched in the districts with much fanfare on January 12 by the Chief Minister to provide nutritious food to pregnant and lactating women at anganwadi centres. It is intended to provide nutritious food to the beneficiaries and thereby reduce the incidence of infant and maternal mortality rates. The nutritional intervention will help reduce anemia among pregnant women and prevent low birth weight of infants. There are 3,570 anganwadi centres in the district apart from 798 mini-anganwadi centres in 52 mandals. The Indiramma Amrutha Hastham scheme is being implemented in 21 mandals in Adilabad rural, Boath, Asifabad and Wankidi. The government is giving Rs 10.75 per head to provide 125 gm of rice, 30 gm of dal, 16 gm of edible oil, 200 ml of milk, a boiled egg and 50 gm of vegetables and an iron tablet.
What is Pala Pragathi Kendra project about? There are enough dairy projects and bigger players, then why this project on milk?
Self-Help Groups (SHG) in the districts have launched nine mini dairies at different places in the districts. The mini dairies or otherwise known as 'Pala Pragathi Kendra's' are run by the Joint Liability Groups (JLG) which are carved out of the SHG groups in a village.
Women interested in the enterprise can emerge as a joint liability group for establishing the mini-dairy in the village. Some 140 dairies are part of the state government's Milk Mission to establish 700 such dairies throughout the state. Presently the production of milk is 298.01 lakh litres per day. The mini dairies will help in increasing the same to 496.31 lakh litres per day. The 'Milk Mission' will contribute to an increase in high-yielding milch cow to nearly 1.04 crore. On an average about 4 to 5 mini dairies are expected to come up in every village by 2015. Each dairy is being established in two acres and each member of the JLG is expected to earn Rs 2, 500 to the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA). The Department of Animal Husbandry are giving special training to women of self-help groups besides Rs 3000 as payment for maintenance of the animals.
Anusuya Hema, who has been with the state home for the past five years, was second such member to get married in the past many years. Would you
encourage such marriages in the future? An orphan soon after birth, Anusuya was adopted by the state home, and she spent her first 18 years at the state's juvenile welfare group. After her schooling, Anusuya has been working with the department where she's part of an anganwadi workers' training programme. She will continue to work with the department even after her marriage. Six months ago, Aaparasu Prabhakar (28), a manager with a city hotel, had come to the department along with his parents seeking Anusuya's hand for marriage. After the background check on Prabhakar's personal and professional life, the marriage was conducted. If we are convinced with the background and profile, we shall surely get our girls married off. Even they have a right to happy married life. The functioning of ATM cards for HIV/AIDS patient's pension is not running smoothly though it helps the patient in many ways. With a view to providing economic support to the HIV-positive patients, the government had decided to provide Rs 200 every month on a par with the physically handicapped, widows and the destitute. There are about 12,000 registered HIV-positive patients in Nizamabad . The district authorities have selected only 1,250 patients for the Rs 200 pension scheme. As per the health guidelines, patients whose CD4 count is less than 250 and those who take medicines from the ART centres are eligible for the pension scheme.
Trafficking of women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation has assumed alarming proportions in recent year. What are the preventive measures?
Trafficking is prevalent at various levels -- local, inter-district, inter-state and cross border. Commercial exploitation of women and children takes place in various forms, including brothel based prostitution, sex tourism, entertainment industry and pornography in print and electronic media. Most of the victims have been trafficked with promises of Jobs, better career & prospects and marriage. Some are inducted forcibly through abduction. Prevention of trafficking in women and children can be achieved only by addressing the root causes. Poverty and illiteracy have been identified as two primary causes of trafficking. We are working on amendments of criminal procedures to ensure gender and child sensitive application of judicial processes and efficient, tight and stringent prosecution of traffickers including summary disposal of such cases ensuring proper and quick justice.
Child sex ratio and scanning centres? What are the measures taken against diagnostic centres who do foetal scan?
Very serious legal action and closure of such diagnostic centres are being undertaken. We are also educating families not to go in for such scans. There are 'one stop crisis centres for women' at government hospitals in about 100 districts across the country to protect women against violence at home and work places. Child sex ratio in our state in the last census is better compared to other states. The reasons for high number of incidence of female foeticide in India include a deep rooted traditional son preference, continued practice of dowry and concern for safety of the girl child and exploitation and abuse of women and girl children. In order to curb female foeticide and improve the sex ratio, we have adopted a multi-pronged strategy which includes legislative measures, advocacy, awareness generation and programmes for socio-economic empowerment of women. But we can't keep policing every home, there should be an awakening in the society. People's mindsets have to change. Cradle Baby' or 'PalnaA Scheme' needs to be formulated for prevention of female feticide and rescuing the missing Daughters.
Your education, family and hobbies?
I got married after completion of my intermediate. My husband and his family helped me pursue graduation and prepare for my civils. I love reading and helping the needy, in my purview. I used to read books, novels; but now I don't get time. Now I read department-related material. I do go out for movies with my family and my stress buster is sitting in solitude or watching something lively on the television. I practice yoga. I have two sons, Sreenivas (MBA) who is in New Jersey. The younger one Shashidhar is studying.
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