Five districts each of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and Kolkata in West Bengal have recorded the maximum slide in sex ratio, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi told Lok Sabha during the Question Hour on Friday. She was responding to a string of questions from BJP MPs Bhartendra Singh, Kirit Solanki and Santosh Ahlawat, ET Mohammed Basheer from Muslim League, Sirajuddin Ajmal from AIUDF and Supriya Sule from NCP.
The minister informed the House that in 2014, 100 districts were taken up for implementation of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme. At the end of the year, 58 districts had done “extremely well” and the sex ratio there had gone up by 100 points. The next year, 161 districts were taken up and reports suggested that the scheme was implemented “extremely well” in 104 districts, she said. Of these, north Sikkim performed the best. In 2014, sex ratio in the district was 831— meaning 831 girls for every 1,000 boys — and at present it is 1,009, said Maneka.
Maneka said the performance of the scheme in districts was “dependent on the enthusiasm” of the state government concerned. Asked to name the 10 districts which recorded the maximum slide in sex ratio, Maneka listed 11. They included Pithoragarh, Hardwar, Dehradun, Chamoli and Champawat in Uttarakhand and Etawah, Farrukhabad, Saharanpur, Etah and Bijnor in UP. The list also had the name of Kolkata. Stating that sex ratio in Kolkata fell from 1,022 in 2014 to 898, she said, “Kolkata is unfortunately the worst of 161 districts that we have taken.”
Regarding the challenges the scheme faced, the minister said: “The funds did not go from the state government to the districts in time, especially in Bihar, where we have a time lag of six to eight months and in UP, I do not think the funds have still reached.” Citing more reasons, she said the district magistrate who led the campaign “was changed every two or three months” and that “there was a lack of ownership and leadership”. Some states were doing better “now” after a change of government, she said.
She also said that in some cases, as in Jammu and Kashmir, “unrest and violence” affected implementation of the scheme. Rajasthan and Haryana, she said, had “done the best”.
When TMC MP from Purulia Mriganka Mahato lauded the Kanyashree scheme initiated by “our popular Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee” and sought to know if the Centre would adopt it as a model, Maneka said even though the programme was “effective”, Bengal was the “only state which has completely refused to implement the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme”. “As a result, out of 161 districts, Kolkata is showing a severe declining trend,” she said.