The desert state of Rajasthan is blooming with pride and joys. A state that was infamous for infanticide, female foeticide, child marriages and Sati Pratha in past, now enjoys a favourable sex ratio. The number of girl children in state is steadily growing with time. The results of the Centre-run BBBP (Beti Bachao Beti Padhao) campaign has shown vibrant colours in Rajasthan, as the state reports the latest child sex ratio as 938 females per 1000 males. This is a major accomplishment for a state as big as Rajasthan. This figures was released by Rajasthan health department’s Pregnancy and Child tracking system.
The 2011 Census pushed Rajasthan (with a ratio of 888 girls per 1000 boys) to the bottom stratum of India’s child sex ratio rankings. The numbers have declined since the 2001 census that last recorded the number as 909.
Neglect of the child, sex selective abortions, high maternal mortality. misuse of diagnostic procedures like amniocentesis and domestic violence were the leading factors barring the growth of girl child in Rajasthan.
The alarming dip in child sex ratio was a wake-up call that prompted Rajasthan government to action. Immediately, the authorities set down to work and identified 10 districts under the first phase of BBBP in 2015. The said areas were– Alwar, Bharatpur, Dausa, Dholpur, Jhunjhunu, Jaipur, Karauli, Sriganganagar, Sawai Madhopur and Sikar. Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Tonk and Hanumangarh were later added on the list.
In just one year, 9 out of 14 districts have reported a marvellous improvement in the child sex ratio. Out of these, Tonk reported the highest increase of 72 girl children. The current child sex ratio of Tonk is 998 girls per 1000 boys. Unfortunately, districts like Jodhpur, Bharatpur, Karauli, Jaisalmer and Hanumangarh have reported a slight dip but the authorities are hopeful that things will get better if they continue with their strategies.
What’s the Reason behind this Success?
- Monetary incentive played a key role behind the growing sex ratio in Rajasthan. When Raje government came to power in 2013, they hiked the monetary incentives of Shubh Laxmi Yojana to Rs. 50,000. This means the mothers who give birth to girl children will be given Rs. 50,000 at the time of childbirth.
- Girls receive educational scholarships to continue their education. Rs. 2,500 is granted when the girl turns one year old. Rs. 4,000 is given at the time of admissions. On entering class 6th, they get Rs. 5,000. When they step into Class X, they receive Rs. 11,000 that effectively covers up their tuition expenses. The biggest instalment of Rs. 25,000 is received when the girl passes her Class XII board exams. Financial help motivates poor students to continue their education further.
- To provide moral support, the CM introduced novel concept of ‘Badhai Sandesh’ in 2014. As planned, a congratulatory letter signed by the Chief Minister is send to the parents of every newborn. Thrilled by the concept, several families have framed and displayed it in their homes and offices.
- Despite all these efforts, many horrific cases of violence against females was reported in last 3 years. To prevent such instances from occurring in future, the Government introduced a Mukhbir scheme. Anyone who reports instances of sex discrimination or prenatal diagnosis are rewarded with Rs. 2 lakh.
- In a parallel effort, the government has introduced ‘Aashray’ to provide shelter to abandoned kids and ‘Humari Beti’, wherein the esteemed members of the society come forth to provide for a girl child.
Amidst all this, the government admits that it’s essential to change the patriarchal mindset of people. Therefore, efforts are being made to educate families on this subject. With innovative ideas like these, Rajasthan government is confident that they’ll receive positive results in the coming years.