Kolkata, Aug 14 : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday lifted the ceiling on annual family income for the beneficiaries of her government's flagship women welfare scheme 'Kanyashree' that aims to ensure girls stay in school and delay their marriages till at least the age of 18.
Widening the reach of the scheme would cost the state government an additional Rs 200 crore, Banerjee said.
"I am lifting the ceiling on Kanyashree from today (Tuesday).
From now everyone will get the Kanyashree benefit. This will cost my government an additional Rs 200 crore but I know that they (the beneficiaries) will bring back Rs two lakh crore by preserving their respect," Banerjee said on the fifth anniversary celebrations of the scheme here.
The state had incurred an annual expenditure of Rs 1200 crore under the scheme last year.
Kanyashree was launched in 2013 to prevent early marriage of girl children of socio-economically disadvantaged families whose annual income is Rs 120,000 or less.
Close to 50 lakh beneficiaries are enrolled under the scheme so far in Bengal.
Banerjee also announced that her government would build a university for the "Kanyashree girls" to pursue higher education.
She also instructed the state education department to hold special training camps for the girls enrolled under the scheme and asked the skill development department to provide skill training to the girls to increase their chances getting jobs.