Govt to focus on 100 districts to improve child sex ratio

Chandigarh: Government has selected 100 districts across the country where various measures will be taken to improve the child sex ratio, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said here today.

Maneka Gandhi

Inaugurating the first Regional Consultation of District Collectors/Deputy Commissioners on the District Action Plan of 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme' here, she said the government has chosen 100 districts and each of them will be given up to Rs one crore for the current year under the scheme.

"The Centre has planned to improve child Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) by 10 basis point per year," she said.

The day-long Regional Consultation was attended by District Collectors and Deputy Commissioners from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Gandhi said her Ministry has come up with action plans for village level, block level as well as district level so that the number of girl children registers an ongoing increase and their educational levels also go up.

The steps in this regard include promoting early registration of pregnancy, institutional deliveries and 100 per cent birth registration, she said.

Gandhi said sarpanches (village heads) need to be the nodal person in this endeavour and his/her role and responsibilities need to be defined.

She also emphasised on the need for strict implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act and said that the monitoring mechanism for it has to be strengthened at the district level.

"The progress in regard to the measures and success under the scheme will be monitored at the central level so that determined targets are achieved without fail," she said.

The minister said a multi-sectoral approach will be adopted wherein Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare and Human Resources Development will work in tandem.

Stating that the success of this scheme depended on changing people's mind-set and social behaviour, she said a media plan has been evolved whereby several short films are being prepared in regional languages.

These will be shown on both national and cable TV channels, Gandhi said. She exhorted the district officers to make extensive use
of these by showing the video messages during film interval at theatres and broadcasting audio clips on FM radio and community radio for maximum reach.

She suggested the use of bill boards, naming and shaming people, 'nukkad nataks' and provision of incentives for those who do good work in this regard to promote the cause of 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao'.

The district collectors and deputy commissioners being nodal officers can play a crucial part in the successful implementation of this scheme which would have a very wide social and national ramifications in the long run, Gandhi said while exhorting them to engage themselves fully for the scheme's success.

The Minister also invited suggestions from the district officers for further betterment and fine-tuning of the scheme.

Punjab Minister for Women and Child Development Surjit Kumar Jyani, in his remarks, said the misuse of technology for greed coupled with a specific mind-set was instrumental in eroding the child sex ratio in Punjab from 875 in 1991 to 798 in 2001.

This, however, was reversed between 2001-2011 when SRB went up by 48 points due to concerted efforts of the state government, he said.

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