Piplantri village in India is gaining headlines for programs that support environmental preservation, women’s empowerment, and increased economic prospects. All of this is a result of one man’s enormous dreams for his community.
The steadily dropping sex ratio in several regions of India over the past few decades has long worried sociologists, political analysts, and intellectuals. One man’s effort in a community has provided a model of reformation at a time when even strict legislative restrictions have failed to put an end to female infanticide and feticides.
In Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, the birth of baby girls is considered as unpleasant news to the residents of Piplantri. Infanticide and female feticides were not unknown crimes. This was mostly caused by the extensive dowry system that was prevalent in the community. Shyam Sunder Paliwal, a social activist and former sarpanch (head) of Piplantri village, steps in with his vision for the girls’ future. He thought that if the families of newborn baby girls planted trees & cared for them for eighteen years, they would be able to secure sufficient funds for the girl’s wedding once she reaches adulthood.
Villagers backed his mission!
He got off to a terrific start working with the government. Paliwal first encountered difficulties carrying out this idea. However, the Piplantri village council had won numerous accolades for carrying out a number of government programs, which encouraged the villagers to try out this proposal as well.
Paliwal also visited the communities as part of the ‘Panchayat at Your Doorstep’ initiatives and spoke to women about empowerment. He persuaded Bhamashahs and women’s self-help groups to view this plan as special from the standpoint of protecting females. As the concept gained traction, the villagers came to the realization that they could forget about dowry since the trees they plant whenever a baby girl is born will cover all of her future expenses.
(The Bhamashah program was established with the goal of promoting financial inclusion and women’s empowerment. It is a family-based scheme in which the lady of the home is given a Bhamashah card and a bank account. This enables women to act as decision-makers of the family.)
This is how the program operates:
111 trees are to be planted by the child’s parents, grandparents, as well as other family members to commemorate the birth of a baby girl. In order to prevent the actions of the relatives from being in vain, the village panchayat looks after these plants. Its upkeep is occasionally handled by women’s self-help groups, older women, grandmothers, aunts, etc. This priceless work is being carried out under Paliwal’s Kiran Nidhi Yojna.
Further plans for newborn girls:
The empowerment of women and girls in Paliwal’s community is a goal that includes more than just planting trees. A fixed deposit (FD) account is opened at the time of the birth of a girl child and funded with INR10,000 from the girl’s parents plus INR31,000 from donors & Bhamashahs. The local panchayat keeps track of this, and after the term is through, the FD is updated. The girl’s birth information is reported by the panchayat to the registrar. Along with this, all formalities for the ‘Janani Suraksha Scheme’ & other advantageous government bond schemes are fulfilled.
Also watch our latest web story on This Indian Village Plants 111 Trees every time a Baby Girl is born & more
Additionally, Paliwal embraced the Kiran Nidhi Scheme, a letter of oath created by social worker Anna Hazare, in his village. Paliwal added a number of provisions to the plan in order to make it more accurate for the times & to ensure that girls’ overall development occurred not only at school but also at home.
The following terms are included in the oath that the parents take on stamp paper:
There won’t be any feticides in the family.
The baby girl will receive the same level of care as a baby boy is given.
111 trees will be planted in the honor of a baby girl.
Parents won’t stop their daughters from going to school.
Daughters will not be married as a minor, under any circumstances.
This money will go toward the daughter’s wedding and/or further education.
The village shall be the owner of the trees that were planted at birth.
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