Improvement in child sex-ratio in 49 districts: Maneka

New Delhi: As many as 49 out of 100 districts of the country where government’s ambitious ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign to save and empower the girl child was launched last year have recorded significant improvement in child sex-ratio at birth, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said today.

“There has been significant improvement in child sex-ratio at birth in 49 districts which is much beyond our expectation,” the Minister for Women and Child Development said, speaking at the launch of the campaign in 61 additional districts.

Maneka emphasised on the need for compulsory registration of pregnant women by village panchayats to curb female foeticide.

“Sarpanches (village heads) should be made the nodal person in every village for monitoring pregnant women,” she said.

Setting a target for improving child sex-ratio at birth by 10 points minimum every year, Gandhi asked the deputy commissioners and district magistrates to adopt a “proactive approach” by launching creative initiatives to change the mentality of the people towards girl child.

“Our goal is to improve sex ratio at birth by 10 points minimum every year. It will lead to 50 points in five years bringing it upto par,” she said.

A 10 point raise would mean the number of girls going up by ten vis-a-vis every 1000 births of male children.

She appealed to the states to achieve 100 per cent institutional deliveries and put boards displaying number of girls and boys in every village.

“It is very difficult to kill a child in hospital, but easier through midwives at home and then say the child was born dead. So, 100 per cent institutional delivery is very important,” she said.

“Secondly, the sarpanch in every village has to have a board of how many girls and boys are living there,” she said.

The Minister also asked them to map and register all the ultrasound machines to keep a check on illegal sex selection and monitoring of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.

“District authorities need to tell all the village sarpanches about PCPNDT Act and provide them legal counselling about laws protecting women against violence. They have to put the fear of PCPNDT Act as Haryana has done. It is the key to it. They need to map and register all the ultrasound machines in the districts and establish online web portal,” she said.