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Introduction

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.

What are the objectives of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme?

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:

  • Reduce gender-based exclusion of girl child 
  • To help in survival and protection of every girl child
  • To provide every girl child with education

Core strategy of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Programme

This programme strives to eliminate gender inequality against the girl child by implementing various schemes;

  • Focusing primarily on gender-critical areas in order to insure that concerted action is taken appropriately
  • Coordinated intervention given priority in areas identified with low-child sex ratio
  • Addressing the topic of decreasing infant sex ratio in popular debate, seminars, forums with a view to accelerate recognition and change
  • Implement creative and interesting strategies for the implementation of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao in compliance with local requirements and responsiveness
  • Encouraging societies to engage and work for their own development, for the birth and growth of a girl child.
  • Initiation of awareness programs to encourage the growth and education of the girl child
  • Challenging current gender roles and inferior societal expectations against a girl
  • Equipping local government bodies and communities to act as a tool for social reform and development

Implementation of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Programme

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)

  • Conception of Activism and Awareness
  • Mobilization of the Community
  • Stakeholder Education
  • Identification of Gender Champions
  • Rewards Organizations and Frontline Workers

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW)

  • Implementation of PC & PNDT Act
  • Establishing monitoring councils
  • Increased centralized delivery
  • Registration of births

Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD)

  • Universal Girl Child Enrolment
  • Reduce the drop-out rate
  • Schools that are girl child friendly
  • Effective execution of the RTE

Contribution from the Common Man towards the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Programme

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:

  • Cherish the birth of a child amongst family and friends
  • Raise daughters and sons as "equals" and foster harmony among them
  • Take great pride in the birth of girl child and condemn the "Paraya Dhan" and "Bojh" mindset
  • Secure school admissions and equal inclusion for girl child in education
  • Encourage women to be independent and build a career of their choice
  • Encourage men and boys to question gender stereotypes and roles
  • Report any act of sex determination test
  • Strive to make our neighbourhood safe and violence-free for women and girls
  • Promote simple weddings
  • Support the right of women to inherit and own property

Success of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Programme

  • 119 districts registered improvement in the first quarter registration against the reported Antenatal Care Registration and Addition, as per the Consolidated District Education Information System U-DISE 2015-16.
  • Overall, the enrolment of girls in secondary education increased by 80.97 per cent compared to 76 per cent in 2013-14.
  • Construction of girls' toilets has been completed in every school in selected districts.
  • On the grounds of the effective introduction to date, the system has been applied to 244 other districts for multi-sectoral operation, in addition to the current 161 districts.
  • 235 districts are being covered through community advisory media, activism and education, thereby reaching all 640 districts of the nation with a greater beneficial effect on the Female Sex Ratio.
  • Guddi Gudda Boards (GGBs) will show gender-disaggregated birth data for girls and boys in prominent public places. The GGBs are used as an advocacy tool to highlight the issue of declining CSR and to raise the community's awareness of the value of girls as much as boys.

FAQs

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:

  • Sukanya Samridhi Yojana
  • Balika Samridhi Yojana
  • Ladli Laxmi Yojana
  • Ladli scheme
  • Kanyashree Prakalpa Yojana
  • Dhanalakshmi scheme

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.

EndNote

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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