Addressing Gender Disparities through Conditional Cash Transfers: Assessment of Girl Child Programs in India

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Date and Time: 
Thursday, April 6, 2017
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Speaker: 
Dr. T. V. Sekher
International Institute for Population Sciences
Abstract: 

By providing money to poor families under certain verifiable conditions, conditional cash transfers (CCTs) seek to promote long-term accumulation of human capital. By incentivizing through CCTs, the families were encouraged to ensure certain requirements such as registration of births, childhood immunization, enrollment and retention in schools, and delaying age at marriage of girls beyond 18 years. About twenty girl child promotion schemes are in operational in Indian states  now that have been aimed at improving the value of  girls with the premise that financial incentives would trigger behavioral changes among parents and community, and this will go a long way in ensuring the survival and welfare of girls. This study reviews 12 financial incentive schemes in India and also assess the performance and impact of a pilot scheme. A survey of 4000 households covering both beneficiary and non-beneficiary households, and discussions with program managers, implementing officials, local leaders, and NGOs were undertaken. Available evidence indicates incentives go a long way in ensuring and improving the school education of girls, and also enhancing their age at marriage to some extent. Public policies and financial incentives play an enabling role in reducing the gender barriers by influencing parental perceptions and behaviors.