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 -12 – 13 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. Social construct discriminating against girls on the one hand, easy availability, affordability and subsequent misuse of diagnostic tools on the other hand, have been critical in increasing Sex Selective Elimination of girls leading to low Child Sex Ratio.
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao:
Realizing the gravity of this issue, it was highlighted in the Address to the Joint Session of the Parliament by the President in June, 2014 and thereafter, in the Budget Speech of the Government. Since coordinated and convergent efforts are needed to ensure survival, protection and empowerment of the girl child, Government has announced Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative. This will be implemented through a national multimedia campaign and focussed multi sectoral actions in 100 selected districts, low in CSR, covering all States and UTs. Further, it has been decided by the Government that Ministry of Women and Child Development shall be the Nodal Ministry for implementing this joint Scheme which will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Objectives: The objectives of this initiative are:Prevention of gender biased sex selective eliminationEnsuring survival & protection of the girl child Ensuring education and participation of the girl child Critical Components:
The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) initiative has two major components. i) Media Campaign and ii) Multi-sectoral action in 100 selected districts (as a pilot) with adverse CSR, covering all States and UTs.
Effective implementation of PCPNDT Act is a critical and non-negotiable aspect of this Scheme.
Empowering the girl child through education and creating an enabling environment that provides equal access to education, health, employment/skill development etc. is another critical component.