‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ Scheme – To Ensure the Rights of the Girl Child
After the successful implementation of innovative schemes like the Jan Dhan Yojana, Make in India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched one more scheme ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (save the girl child, educate the girl child), on January 22, 2015 in Panipat, Haryana.
With an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore, the scheme has been launched in hundred districts across the country. In Haryana, where the child sex ratio (CSR) has been dismally low, 12 districts have been chosen: Rewari, Mahendergarh, Bhiwani, Jhajjar, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Sonepat, Rohtak, Karnal, Kaithal, Panipat and Yamuna Nagar.
The scheme aims at making girls independent both socially and also financially through education. This approach of the Government can facilitate in generating awareness and improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women.
Why Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme ?
The latest census of 2011 reveals a declining trend in CSR in the age group of 0 to 6 years, the figure for girls having gone down to 919 per 1,000 boys from 927 in the 2001. The practice of aborting female foetus has become more rampant with the availability of modern diagnostic tools for sex determination of the unborn. With social biases favouring the male child on consideration of economic advantages and the deep-rooted attitude of labelling the girl child as more of a liability, the sex ratio in the country has been highly skewed.
The process of elimination continues even after birth in various forms of discrimination in matters of health, nutritional and educational needs of the girl child.
Therefore, it has been rightly stated that women’s disempowerment begins even before birth. Concomitantly, the fact remains that empowerment of women leads to all-round progress of the society and emancipation from backwardness of beliefs and unscientific practices. The new media and communication methods need to be utilised fully towards driving this message home among the rural folks who cling to superstitious beliefs and practices. The ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign has been launched to achieve this objective of bringing about the awareness and the change.
What Modi said
Lamenting that we have an 18th century mindset, the Prime Minister called for an end to the discrimination between sons and daughters. He said this is the key to ending female foeticide. Modi reminded the medical fraternity, which also contributed to female foeticide, that their medical education had been for the purpose of saving lives and not killing daughters.
The Prime Minister also launched the ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Account’ for the benefit of the girl child. He released a stamp on the theme of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) and administered the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ pledge on the occasion.
Today the society as a whole needs to change its attitude towards the girl child to end female foeticide. The practice is prevalent among every strata of the society. Although there is a healthy sex ratio in the north-eastern region and tribal areas, in many parts of the country the incidence of female foeticide is high.
The Government has initiated this innovative scheme to save the lot of girl children.
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana not only for girls but also for society
In this scheme, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is functioning in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as well as Ministry of Human Resource Development.
It can be a boon not just for the girl children but also for the whole society. Moreover, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme comes at a time when the nation is confronted with problems associated with women’s safety such as rape and other forms of assault. The Government also projected Rs 150 crore to be spent by the Ministry of Home Affairs on a scheme to extend the security of women in large cities.
The Union Budget has also allocated to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Rs 50 crore for pilot schemes to safeguard the safety of women on public road transport. That is a welcome step as this can help restore women’s faith in the system.
The formidable project can incorporate the successes of effective practices for better initiation and implementation. For example, West Bengal has a system for enabling money transfers at periodic intervals for the child’s education. In Punjab, pregnant girls are registered in their first trimester so that the authorities may follow up and monitor cases of foeticide. Another example is Tamil Nadu’s Amma Baby Care Kit.
However, the initiative, although sensible, has been criticized for the most part by many people. It is said that the funds allotted are not enough for full implementation of the scheme. There is need to amend the laws and penalise those who harm the girl child. There’s also need to educate people at the grassroots level about the rights of the girl child to live a healthy life.
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