Latest Posts


Sunday, January 24, 2016

On National Girl Child Day, let’s promise a change

Published on January 24, 2016 
Welcome to the world of the girl child. Her story across country is promising yet gloomy, hopeful yet mired in despair. A girl child is the hand that rocks the cradle, the procreator, and the mother of tomorrow as it is the woman who shapes the destiny of civilization.

History is full of examples of successful women who have been leaders in various walks of life. Yet the irony is that a creation as beautiful as the girl child is also one of the gravest concerns we as a society are facing due to varied factors.

January 24, is a special day, at least for the 625,798,954 (625 million) population of India — the female population. It is National Girl Child Day which India has been observing since 2008. The message behind this is – protect the girl child. 

Now the question arises are we really protecting them particularly when it comes to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim majority state, where red flags flattered after the 2011 Census exposed its female child ratio had gone down below Haryana and other north Indian states notorious for female fetal abortions?

Sharing her experiences vis-a-vis birth gender selection, a Valley-based gynecologist Dr. Shahida Mir, says that mostly couples are obsessed with boys, particularly when it is their first child.  They come to me and say they want a boy. I tell them 'God decides.' They don't realize that doctors cannot do anything about the sex of the baby. They go to Peers (god men).

Would-be mothers, during pregnancy, are under tremendous stress as in-laws and other relatives want nothing but a baby boy. In the delivery room if it is a boy they forget all the pain. If it's a girl they start complaining about the pain. Family celebrates when it is a boy; they ignore the mother if it is a girl.

Even at the time of paying the hospital bill, if it is male child they will happily pay but grouse if it's a girl.

Dr Mir says: “For boys the parents will tell us to save the child till the last minute. When it is a girl they prefer to take the child home after sometime. They don't try their best at times”.

Dr. Mir believes, there is hardly any difference between the ‘illiterate and literate couples’ when it comes to the male child. Even rich and literate couple wants a male child when it is the first child. They feel that if they have a boy first they don't have to worry about later children.

Although government is running many campaigns to save the girl child, but its focus is on government hospitals. “Female feticide happens in private hospitals. Private hospitals must be encouraged to join the save the girl child campaign. Around 5-10 pregnant mothers go to government hospitals while rest opt to go to private ones. The focus should be on private hospitals and private doctors,” believes she.

In order to change societal perception towards the girl child, in November, 2015, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, launched the ‘Ladli Beti scheme’ in seven districts of the state including Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama and Anantnag in Kashmir Division.

Under the scheme, girls who took birth on or after April 1st 2015 will get Rs.6.5 lakh on attaining the age of 21. Girl child born to parents whose annual income is less than Rs.75000 per annum will be eligible under the scheme.

As many as Rs.1000 per month will be deposited towards the birth of every girl child with effect from April 01, 2015 for the next 14 years.

Mufti also launched scheme AASRA, which is a social assistance scheme aimed at insuring low-income group families having annual income less than Rs.75000. In case of the death of the bread earner, widows and destitute, Rs. 2 lakh will be provided while Rs. 1 lakh will be provided in case of disability due to injury.

The scheme aims to provide not only much-needed economic security to the girl child born in a poor family but is also a huge relief to those poor parents who live from hand-to-mouth.

However, lawyer and social activist, Abdul Rashid Hanjoora believes that such schemes always look attractive, but on ground nothing is being done for their implementation.

“These (Ladli Beti and AASRA) schemes have been recently launched in the state, in a way it’s a new baby in the market and what needs to be seen, around what percentage of funds will be allotted to the schemes in the coming budget session,” Hanjoora said.

“If at all funds are allocated, then one has to wait for when that money will come to the department and after that when the same will deposited in the beneficiaries’ accounts,” said he.
Then comes the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) scheme launched by Indian Prime Minister in January 2015.  The BBBP scheme is a joint initiative of Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development.

“Not much has been done with the regard to this by the departments concerned here. Not to talk of city but rural belts of Kashmir has the low literacy rates. Women section is particularly deprived of this basic right to education,” says Hanjoora.

“Beti Bachao” is the principal determinant of the success of its twin, “Beti Padhao”. Before she can reap the benefits of education, a girl child needs to be protected. She needs to be protected as a fetus, as a newborn, as a student; she needs to be saved from hunger and malnutrition, from child marriage and domestic abuse; and, above all, her safety ensured from a society that views her very attempt to step out of home – – for work or play — with suspicion and hostility, an attitude which often culminates in harassment, rape or even murder,” he opines.
The union government has pledged Rs 100 crore for its high profile, high decibel Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign. “In fact, it should pledge whatever it takes to make the society safe for girls and women,” says he.

“Punish those who commit offences against girls and women. Sensitize the police. They can also give schoolboys mandatory lessons on the fact that girls are equal participants in every sphere of the society and must be viewed and treated as such. Infact religious leaders can also play a big role in this regard.”

Indeed, unless you create a free, gender-just and safe environment for girls, they will never realize their potential – educational or otherwise. There lies the real challenge of Modi’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign and the schemes announced by the government in Jammu and Kashmir.
-         The author can be reached at
Source :

No comments:

Post a Comment