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Collectors in districts with low count of girls told to push them 10 rungs up

Issued strict guidelines to improve SRB in 10 districts at least by 10 points every year

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
January 24, 2015 11:15:12 am

It seems a tall order but will augur well for the girl child in a state where sex ratio at birth — SRB or the ratio of number of girls to number of boys born every year — had shown a sharp decline prompting strict enforcement of laws to prevent sex determination through clinical means and stop female foeticide. District collectors have been issued strict guidelines to improve SRB in 10 gender-critical districts in the state at least by 10 points every year. The Beti Bachao, Beto Padhao (save daughter, educate daughter) campaign is fuelling the move.

Dr Sudhakar Kokane, the authority for implementing the Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act in the state, told The Indian Express that 10 districts in Maharashtra — Beed, Jalna, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Buldhana, Washim, Osmanabad, Kolhapur and Sangli — have been included in the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign.
The BBBP implemented in 100 districts of the country is a joint effort of the Women and Child Development, Human Resource Development and Health ministries. The 10 districts in Maharashtra have child sex ratio — CSR or ratio of number of girls in the age group of 0-6 years to 1000 boys in the same age group — far below the national average of 918 girls per 1000 boys.

CSR in the 2011 Census and the district wise targets in these districts were: Beed CSR 807, (target 925), Jalna CSR 870 (target  938), Jalgaon 842 (899), Ahmednagar 852 (929 ), Aurangabad 858 (880), Buldhana 855 ( 872 ), Washim 863 (928 ), Osmanabad 867 ( 928 ), Kolhapur 863 (910).

Guidelines to improve SRB by 10 points a year, reduce gender differentials in under-five children, mortality rate from 8 points in 2011 to 4 points by 2017 have been have sent to district collectors and deputy commissioners.

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Improving nutrition for the girl child and reducing the number of underweight and anaemic girls below 5 years of age are some of the targets set under the move to decrease the gener gap, Kokane said.

PC-PNDT Act bans sex selection techniques before or after conception. The law — Maharashtra was the first to pass such a law in the country — prevents misuse of prenatal diagnostic techniques for sex selective abortion.

Much more needs to be done than just speeches about changing the mindset of society, said Varsha Deshpande, coordinator of Lekh Ladki Abhiyan. She added that laws to prevent discrimination against the girl child need to be strictly enforced.

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Lowest on CSR scale, Beed has long way to go
Under the Beti Bachao, Beto Padhao campaign, the CSR target for Beed is 925 by 2015-16, which is more difficult target that that set for other low-CSR districts. Beed in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region had beome notorious on account of the heinous crime female foeticide. It led to a strong crackdown on several medical practitioners. It was one of the districts where CSR plummeted alarmingly to 807 girls per 1000 boys, against the national average of 918. With measures to stop pre-natal sex selection, the figures gradually climbed to 858 girls per 1000 boys. Beed district has shown that enforcement and awareness can tackle the problem of low CSR. Activists, however, say Beed has a long way to go in this regard.

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First published on: 24-01-2015 at 11:15:12 am

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