- After launching the ambitious “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” (B3P) campaign against female foeticide in Panipat in January 2015 & two years later, Haryana, notorious for its skewed sex ratio and patriarchal mindset, saw a historic turnaround.
- Sex ratio at birth (SRB) in the State this past year touched the 900-mark for the first time in almost two decades.
- The SRB in December 2016 was 914. We have to achieve 950, for which we will need support from our neighbouring States.
- The good news is that Haryana has shown the way and taken the lead in correcting the sex ratio in the country
This improvement was made possible due to
- Effective implementation of the law against illegal sex determination and female foeticide.
- Convergence of all departments at the district-level, coupled with strong political will and co-ordinated efforts by all districts in the State, helped achieve this goal, said officials.
- “A special B3P cell was created by the Chief Minister’s Office to monitor the programme. Since convergence of many departments was required, besides the need to deal with the Attorney-General, due to which many cases went to the High Court, it was constantly monitored by the CMO.
- The Chief Minister held a video-conference with the Deputy Commissioners every month to monitor the progress.
- A social media group, moderated by the Additional Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, was created to share and exchange information.
- This forum enabled healthy competition between different districts and helped them learn from each other’s experiences,” said a senior official associated with the programme.
Enforcing the law
- As part of its strategy, the State initiated an aggressive drive against female foeticide by ensuring stringent implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, and the Medical Terminal of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.
- As a result, 391 first information reports were lodged in the State since May 2015 and more than 1,000 offenders arrested.
- Doctors, paramedics and quacks were found involved in the illegal practice.
- In a few cases, political leaders were also part of the unholy nexus, including a case each in Karnal and Hisar.
- The first positive result of the strict enforcement was visible in December 2015, when the SRB touched the 900-mark for the month for the first time.
- Sex selective abortions are mostly conducted in the fourth month of pregnancy.
- Creating awareness through regular meetings, street plays and rallies in urban and rural areas was another key aspect of the programme.
- Those associated with the programme admitted that Haryana girls, including Sakshi Malik, Geeta Phogat, Babita and Deepa Malik, winning laurels for the country in sports helped the cause “tremendously”.
- However, the programme now faces new challenges: the mushrooming of illegal ultrasound centres near Haryana in Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
- Haryana government officials have conducted 74 inter-State raids over the past year in this connection, with 37 (the maximum) in Uttar Pradesh alone.
Source: The Hindu