Barmer district in Rajasthan is a beautiful
but harsh land. Scorched, desert, water
starved with not more than a single harvest
in a year, it straddles high rates of illiteracy,
strong caste divisions, lack of transport
and communication making the district a
difficult place to live.
Traditional customs like child marriage
are common here as is evident from the fact
that a 15 year old class 8 student, recently
became a father.
However, there is a visible change which
is turning such records around.
Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) and Jindal
Steel Works (JSW) recently awarded 124 couples
from the very same district for their display
of Responsible Parenthood Practises. This
includes most importantly the fact that
the girls were all married after 19; had
their first child at 21, spaced the next
child after 36 months and was followed by
sterilization of one partner.
Shyama Ram and Poori Devi. Between both
of them she is more educated - till class
5. Going against the tide, she was married
at 19 and they have limited themselves to
2 daughters. Poori Devi is clear that it
is only if the mother marries late, can
she take care of herself and her children.
Uda Ram and Hemi Devi. While he is a graduate
and works as a social worker, Hemi Devi
is not educated. Marriage at 19, first child
at 21, limiting themselves to 2 children
followed by sterilization of one partner,
they were selected for their high degree
of motivation and forward thinking as role
models for the community.
These are the kind of couples that JSK seeks
to promote through its Prerna strategy.
The aim behind it is to discourage early
marriages and early pregnancies, prevent
maternal and child mortality, promote sterilization
and popularize birth and marriage registration.
It seeks to leverage the strength of different
economic and social sectors for this purpose.
Barmer was the meeting ground for one such
innovative and highly successful partnership.
For the first time a corporate business
house - Jindal Steel Works partnered JSK
for implementation of the Prerna strategy
in a district. In an exemplary example of
corporate social responsibility, JSW collaborated
with JSK and the district administration
to identify and award 124 such couples within
a short time span of a month.
The award ceremony was held on 3rd July
2009 at Mahaveer Town Hall in Barmer where
the awardees were presented with Kisan Vikas
Patras and certificates. The programme was
chaired by Mrs Shailaja Chandra, ED, JSK,
Mr. Ravi Jain, District Collector Barmer,
CM & HO Barmer, Dr Ganpat Singh Rathore,
Mr. Upinender Singh and COO, Raj West Power,
JSW. The programme was also attended by
Add. CMHO, Dr Jitendra Singh, representatives
of Health, WCD and Panchayati Raj departments
and the district media.
The award ceremony was the culmination of
strong partnership and collaboration between
JSK and JSW and the district administration.
It included holding a workshop on Prerna
strategy in the district which was attended
by more than 550 ANMs, AWW, ASHA Sahayoginis,
Gram Sevak Sarpanches and Pradhans, Panchayati
Raj and other departments at block level.
JSW is a part of USD 8 billion O. P. Jindal
Group under the leadership of Mr Sajjan
Jindal. The JSW group has interests across
various sectors Ė Steel, Energy, Cement,
Aluminium, Minerals and Port & Maritime
The Prerna strategy awards highly motivated
couples from backward districts in the country
in the following categories:
marriage after 19 years of age (Reward
of Rs.5000/) and giving birth to the
first child after the age of 21 years
(Award of Rs.7000/ if itís a girl child
& Rs 5000/ if itís a boy).
a 36 month gap between first and second
child and one parent getting sterilized
after the second child is born(Award
of Rs.7000/ if itís a girl child &
Rs 5000/ if itís a boy)