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For decades, Indian families have preferred boy babies over girls and there exists a deep-rooted discrimination against girl children. In ancient India, daughters were considered to be a burden due to the huge expenses incurred towards their marriage in the form of dowry. This led to a huge drop in the child sex ratio as recent as 2011 census, which had a CSR of 918 girls for every 1000 boys.
Strong rooted socio-economic beliefs, long accepted discrimination against the girl child, peer pressure from the society and irrational philosophies supporting a son are some reasons for this tragic decline in the child sex ratio over the years. The society has long been suffering from various irrational beliefs like dowry, lineage, property and inheritance rights only for sons and many other superstitions that have led to huge discrimination against the girl child.
Though times are changing, major initiatives are required in this area to prevent discrimination and violence against girl children and women. This led to the launch of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ programme in January 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated this commendable scheme that encourages the celebration of girl child in every household.
The program addresses the problem of falling Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and is a national project jointly run by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resources Development. It initially concentrated on multi-sectoral activity in 100 districts around the country where CSR was poor. On 26th August 2016, Sakshi Malik, a bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics, became the brand ambassador for this campaign.
The hashtag #SelfieWithDaughter became largely trending on social media in June 2015, when Sunil Jaglan, the Sarpanch of the Bibipur village of Jind in Haryana, took a selfie with his daughter Nandini and shared it on Facebook. The hashtag has earned worldwide popularity.
About Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
As stated earlier, the primary objective of this programme is to celebrate the girl child in every household. It aims to educate people about gender equality and the importance of a girl child in our society. This scheme operates with these main objectives:
This programme strives to eliminate gender inequality against the girl child by implementing various schemes;
This programme is being implemented through an advocacy model and national media campaign and focused multi sectoral action in selected districts, covering all states and UTs.
The implementation in the districts is led by the District Collector or Deputy Commissioner. Encouraging trends are visible as per the latest HMIS data of MOHFW for 161 districts for the time period between April to March 2015-16 and 16-17, indicating that an improving trend in sex ratio at birth (SRB) is visible in 104 districts.
This is a tri-ministerial, convergent initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resources Development. Each ministry will work towards this programme based on their area of functioning.
Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD)
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW)
Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD)
The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Programme is a community programme. It cannot be a success without the support of the common man. Since most of the misconceptions and stereotypes about a girl child are deep rooted in the common man’s mind, intensive awareness is required to change this mindset and make this campaign a huge success. Here are some things that every one of us can do to remove gender discrimination against the girl child:
1. What is the primary objective of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Programme?
The primary objective of this programme is to celebrate the girl child in every household.
2. What are some schemes introduced under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao?
Some popular monetary schemes under the programme are:
3. Who are the important implementing agencies for this programme?
This programme is implemented jointly by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resources Development.
Girl children have all the rights and liberties as that of a boy child. Centuries old traditions and superstitions have to be eradicated to give a level playing field to girls and women in our society. Though men are realizing this fact, more needs to be done in rural India, where these stereotypes are deep rooted in their daily life.
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