Is ‘Beti Bachao’ just a slogan or India actually taking concrete steps?

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The trend of decline in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR), defined as number of girls per 1000 of boys between 0-6 years of age, has been unabated since 1961. The decline from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and further to 918 in 2011 is alarming.

The decline in the CSR is a major indicator of women disempowerment. CSR reflects both, pre-birth discrimination manifested through gender biased sex selection, and post birth discrimination against girls.

beti bachao

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has started collecting data on female foeticide since 2014. A total of 50 cases were reported under female foeticide in 2014.

Madhya Pradesh with 15 and Rajasthan with 11 cases top the shameful data list.

Prime Minister Modi called for the eradication of female foeticide and invited suggestions from the citizens of India on "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" while speaking on the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child. The suggestions were put by the people on portal.

The hashtag #SelfieWithDaughter which trended worldwide on twitter was promoted by PM Modi after he came to know about the effort of sarpanch of the village Bibipur in Haryana who took a selfie with his daughter and posted on Facebook on 19 June 2015 and asked people from his village to do the same.

Government has also adopted a multi-pronged strategy entailing schemes and programmes and awareness generation or advocacy measures to build a positive environment for the girl child through gender sensitive policies, provisions and legislation.

The details of important measures taken for implementation of various provisions of PC&PNDT Act, 1994 and Rules made thereunder, as amended from time to time, are given below:

  1. The Government has intensified effective implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 and amended various provisions of the Rules.
  2. The Government is rendering financial support to the States and UTs for operationalization of PNDT Cells, Capacity Building, Orientation &Sensitisation Workshop, Information, Education and Communication campaigns and for strengthening structures for the implementation of the PC & PNDT Act under the National Health Mission (NHM).
  3. A National review under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary and Mission Director, MoHFW was held on 21st September, 2015 through video conference.
  4. Program review at the state level has been intensified. Five regional review workshops for North, West, Central, North East and Southern regions were organized during 2014-15. During 2015-16 three regional review workshops have been organized for Northern Eastern, Northern and Eastern States in Imphal, Chandigarh and Bhubaneswar respectively.
  5. National campaign "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" was launched in 100 gender critical districts in partnership with the Ministry of Woman and Child Development and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  6. Directions given by the Honourable Supreme Court in the matter of WP(C) 349/2006 (Voluntary Health Association of Punjab vs. UOI & others), were communicated to the States/ UTs time to time for ensuring compliance.
  7. Inspections by the National Inspection and Monitoring Committee (NIMC) have been scaled up. In year 2014-15, 19 inspection visits have been undertaken in different States. During 2015-16, 22 NIMC inspections have been undertaken in the States of Punjab, Puducherry, Tripura, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Mizoram, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Assam, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.
  8. States have been advised to focus on Districts/Blocks/Villages with low Child Sex Ratio to ascertain the causes, plan appropriate behaviour change communication campaigns and effectively implement provisions of the PC & PNDT Act.

As per Quarterly Progress Reports (QPRs) submitted by States/ UTs following actions have been taken against the violators since inception of the Act:

  1. A total of 1573 ultrasound machines have been sealed and seized for violations of the PC & PNDT Act and rules made there under.
  2. A total of 2152 court cases have been filed by various State Appropriate Authorities and 306 convictions have so far been secured under the Act.
  3. Registration of 100 medical professionals convicted under the Act has been suspended/cancelled by the concerned State Medical Councils.

Thanks to these measures Haryana which has been ill famous for a skewed sex ratio crossed the 900 marks for the first time in 10 years with 903 girls being born for every 1000 boys.

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