|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 68-70
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme, Haryana: Improvement in sex ratio at birth and other achievements
Member, Ethics and Medical Registration Board, National Medical Commission, New Delhi; Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women, Sonipat, Haryana, India
|Date of Submission||30-May-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||17-May-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||29-Jun-2021|
Member (Full Time) Ethics and Medical Registration Board, National Medical Commission (Currently), Pocket 14, Sector - 8, Dwarka Phase 1, New Delhi - 77
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Malik Y. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme, Haryana: Improvement in sex ratio at birth and other achievements. Indian J Community Fam Med 2021;7:68-70
|How to cite this URL:|
Malik Y. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme, Haryana: Improvement in sex ratio at birth and other achievements. Indian J Community Fam Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jul 25];7:68-70. Available from: https://www.ijcfm.org/text.asp?2021/7/1/68/319933
There have been lots of discussions and deliberation among experts on the root cause of female feticide and gender biases, including strategies needed to be adopted to eliminate gender-based discrimination from society. Among various causes cited for the prevalence of sex-selective elimination, son preference, clan progress, property distribution, and fear for security of girls and women have been prominently discussed. Many social customs and traditions are thought to propagate this discrimination. Many strategies proposed by various experts range from harsher and appropriate laws, change in societal norms, and change in discriminatory traditions to raising awareness among masses.
The increased discussions, debates, and awareness on the issues related to women have direct link with the political will demonstrated through the launch of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (B3P) Scheme from Panipat on January 22, 2015, by our Hon'ble Prime Minister in 100 districts, 87 of them being gender critical in turns of child sex ratio. Haryana had 12 districts in the list of 100. Starting the program from Panipat was indeed an indication from the Prime Minister that he is concerned about the daughters of India, in general, and Haryana, in particular. He had a vision which he nicely articulated in his speech at the launch. Chief Minister Haryana was present during the launch, and he has taken this opportunity as challenge.
Though the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) is the nodal ministry for implementation of B3P Scheme, the efforts of the Department of Health, Education, and other departments such as Panchayat Raj, in general, have been pivotal in its success.
The indicators mentioned in guidelines released by the Ministry of WCD for deputy commissioners such as Improve the sex ratio at birth (SRB) in selected gender critical districts by 2 points in a year, At least 1.5% increase per year of Institutional Deliveries, At least 1% increase per year of 1st trimester ANC registration, Improve the nutrition status of girls by reducing number of underweight and anemic girls under 5 years of age, and Promote a protective environment for girl children through implementation of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 make this program an achievement based rather than rhetoric.
Elimination of girls after birth (infanticide) has been norm in earlier days. However, after advent of new technologies especially ultrasonography which is instantaneous and relatively cheaper, knowing sex of fetus in womb has become easier.
Strict implementation of PC-PNDT, MTP, and Drug and Cosmetic Act, apart from other important measures to motivate general public, is of paramount importance in curbing the menace. Fetal sex selection has become a big industry now, and if we put pressure on one district, the industry shifts its base in nearby district. Due to this reason, Haryana Government decided to run the program in all 21 districts of the State since the beginning of the scheme. The government has come down heavily on the syndicate and has registered more than 700 first information reports (FIRs) under various acts. This has led to a sense of fear among the criminals involved in such activities. Action is being taken against quacks and other shopkeepers involved in selling fake sex-selective medicines.
The biological SRB is naturally masculine with 104–107 male live births per 1000 females, or 952 girls per 1000 boys. The sex ratio in Haryana has been low historically, as depicted in [Figure 1].
However, SRB for December 2015 has crossed 900 for the first time in the history of Haryana. SRB of 2016 was 900, 2017 was 914, 2018 was 914, and 2019 was 927 [Figure 2].
The aim of B3P Scheme is not only to prevent gender-biased sex selective elimination, ensuring education, ensuring survival and protection, and ensuring empowerment but also to create an enabling environment for bringing about social change, regarding equality of girl child. This means a combo of activities keeping in mind whole life cycle of a woman.
Once born, a girl requires good nutrition after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. This will mitigate the chances of undernutrition in them. The latest report of NHFS 4 survey states the number of children in the age group of 6–59 months to be 71.7%. We have 29.4% underweight children in the age group of <5 years in Haryana. We can expect higher percentage of girls in these categories. Hence, our focus is on improving ICDS and diet modification in Haryana. Similarly, there has to be equal health-seeking behavior of parents for girl and boy child. Our infant mortality has reduced to 33 and under-five mortality rate has reduced to 41. After preschool education in Anganwadi centers, we need to focus on 100% enrolment and less number of dropouts from schools. Balika manches and Man ki Bat in schools have brought forth some factors responsible for dropouts in girls. NSS and NCC have been involved in the program to contact dropout girls and their re-enrolment with some fantastic results. Now, we have 75.4% of women in the age group of 15–49 years who are literate. Functional toilets are not only important for health and hygiene but have also documented to be helpful in increasing enrollment and decreasing dropouts among girls. We are striving to achieve availability of functional toilets for girls in all our schools. Insecurity of girls has been cited a major reason for girls elimination. They require good secure environment at home and outside. Small kids have been sensitized about bad and good touch and adolescents and adults about various legal security covers for them against harassment. Mahila Police stations have been established in all 21 districts of Haryana, keeping security of women in mind. Conviction rate under the POCSO Act cases has increased to all time high in Haryana. Referral of cases to CWC, which should be 100%, has also increased. District child protection officer monitors and reviews each POCSO Act case from registration of FIR, CWC referral, investigation, filling of challan to conduct of fair trial, and filling appeals in acquittal cases.
Various Khap panchayats have come out in open against menace of female feticide. Many civil society organizations such as Bharat Vikas Parishad are celebrating birth of girl child through initiatives such as Anandotsav. Awareness rallies, Nukkad Nataks, celebration of birth/Lohri of girls, Film shows, Prabhat pheri, Puppet shows, Signature campaign, health camps/baby shows, logo in schools and government buses, Kuan Poojan, Thali Bajana, and Gudda-Guddi boards showing the number of birth registered during the month and sex ratio of the village have been regular features now for creating awareness among masses. There has been involvement of youth in the campaign in a big way.
Various schemes such as Haryana Kanya Kosh, Pradhan mantra Matri Vandana Yojana, Aapki Beti-Humari Beti, Sukanya Samridhi, Haryana Nutrition mission, One Stop Centers, Humari Foolwari, and Malnutrition-free Haryana and awards such as Indira Gandhi Mahila Shakti Award, Kalpana Chawla Shaurya Award, Bahan Shanno Devi Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Women Outstanding Achievers Award have been encouraging and motivating people of the state to work for women empowerment.
B3P Scheme in Haryana has been successful due to convergence of efforts by various departments, political will, and effective implementation through deputy commissioners. The decreasing sex ratio can be brought back to normal if we take community in confidence and implement the program through people participation. The success of the scheme proves that government agencies can achieve unimaginable results through interdepartmental cooperation.
Author has been an advisor to Chief Minister Haryana (B3P Scheme) from 2015 to 2020.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
Dagar R. Gender, Identity and Violence – Female deselection in India. Routledge 2014;P11,15.
[Figure 1], [Figure 2]