In Haryana, a state with one of the worst sex ratios in the country, a village panchayat in Jind is trying to make a difference in a unique manner.
The gram panchayat of Bibipur village has initiated a contest for the “best selfie with daughters”. The panchayat has asked parents to send their selfies to the village sarpanch on WhatsApp by June 17. The winning entry will get a trophy, certificate and Rs 2,100 cash prize on June 19.
The contest has caught on. Sarpanch Sunil Jaglan said he has already received over 100 entries since the contest was announced three days ago. “When we visit people’s houses in Haryana, we find there are fewer pictures of girls there. The aim of the contest is to ensure that girls get the importance they deserve in their houses and are not ignored,” said
He said the contest was “the contribution of the gram panchayat to the cause” of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme. “Clicking selfies is the latest craze among people. The gram panchayat decided that families should be encouraged to click selfies with their daughters,” said Jaglan.
Haryana is among the bottom five states in terms of sex ratio. In 2014, the sex ratio at birth was 871, a marginal increase from 868 in 2013. Eight districts in the state witnessed a decline in sex ratio from 2013 to 2014, with Mahendragarh being the worst at 745. Twelve of the total 21 districts in Haryana are among the worst 100 in the country.
In the past, the Bibipur gram panchayat has taken several steps to improve the skewed sex ratio. It was in Bibipur that the first women-driven khap panchayat was held in 2012, where a resolution was passed that those indulging in female foeticide should be charged with murder.
A board at the entrance of the village states its name as “Bibipur – The Women’s World”. That is how the village wants to be known now, and the panchayat has even written to the state government in this connection. The village also has a Lado Marg, Lado Sarovar and Kalpana Chawla Anganwadi in honour of girls.
With the gram panchayat taking initiatives to track pregnant mothers, the sex ratio in the village has improved. According to Jaglan, the number of boys and girls are now “almost equal”.