Shradhaa Tiwari elucidates the Goverment’s campaign of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ and the atrocities inflicted. It also comments upon the strategies via programmes and schemes formulated by the Govt. to address the matter efficiently.
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao which stands for saving girls and educating them is of vital importance. This pivotal subject clearly involves the process of increasing girl child sex ratio (CSR) and afterwards inducing quality education to them. Even though girl account for forty-eight percent of India’s population of 225 million, they continue facing discrimination from the womb. The main cause for this gender bias, as the Census of 2011 suggests, is inadequate education. This makes the two distinct processes viz. saving the girl child, and another, of educating them. They are starkly intertwined and one cannot be achieved without the other.
The subject’s urgency was understood by the Govt of India, which led to formulation of a flagship project “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” (BBBP) which was launched on 22 January, 2015. It is national campaign which is being implemented across hundred selected districts which were low in the child sex ratio in the first phase.
The three main objectives of BBBP are :
• To prevent gender – biased sex selective elimination,
• To ensure survival and protection of girl child
• To ensure the education and participation of the girl child.
The BBBP is actually in favour of ensuring the change in mindset at large and enable girls to get their education.
SEX SELECTIVE ABORTIONS
The menace of sex selective abortions is the first major hurdle in this matter. A study conducted by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) suggested that sex selective abortions of female foetuses, usually after a firstborn girl, has increased in India over the last few decades and have contributed to a widening imbalance in the CSR. The study also highlighted that although the Indian Govt has implemented the Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1996 (PNDT), against sex selective abortions it is unlikely that this Act has been able to be effective nationally. The reason for this can be seen in the strengthening of son preference mentality due to which the sex selective abortions are happening.
Also, after saving a girl child the issue of marrying them off early emerges. Forty-two percent of married women in India were married as children, which is huge than it seems. During one such study on this matter, it was found that, besides gender, social and economic factors play significant role in hastening marriage. It further stated that the number of child marriages is extraordinarily high among the marginalised communities. Having been married off at an early age, not only the girl’s education is hampered but she also becomes prone to an array of other menaces such as dowry, childhood pregnancy, sex selective abortions etc. Although there has been much improvement in girls getting graduated in states like Gujarat, but researchers suggest that this is done in order to get better grooms as there is no rise in girls enrolling for post-graduate courses. Again, the issue of getting girls’ education up to graduation level seems to be motivated by the idea of having a good marriage and not to increase self-efficiency.
THE EMPLOYMENT OF CHILD LABOURER
The employment of child labourers also contributes to the vast deficiency in girl child education. A research carried out in India shows, that, seventy-four percent of child domestic workers in India are between the ages of 12 and 16.
In most of the Indian industries, girls are considered as unrecognised labourers as they are seen as help and supporters and not workers due to which they remain unprotected by law. Experts opine this problem to be because of reasons like poverty, family debt, administrative attitude, cheap labour and social mindset.
The BBBP, from everything stated above makes it clear deserves the highest of affinities of importance as possible. The rampant gender discrimination prevalent right from the birth of girl child which continues even after she is married is exponentially on the rise.
STRATEGIES FORMULATED FOR DEVELOPMENT – PROGRAMS AND POLICIES
In the area of education of girl child, there is appreciable improvement of India, according to Achievements and Challenges report by United Nations’ Girl Education Initiative (UNGEI), initiatives like India becoming one among the 12 countries to join the UNs programme to end child marriage and to help protect the rights of child brides, whose number can reach one billion by 2030 known as, ‘The UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage’, has taken place in order to curb the problems against girl child and their education and to empower them.
In States like Chhattisgarh, wherein, in the words of Chief Minister – “BBBP is turning into a public movement”, as the state is far ahead in terms of national average in male-female ratio. Establishment of Women Advisory Centre under Superintendent of Police in each district for prevention of domestic violence and family disputes is one such programme in the said state for empowering the women. Amongst it, is also Special Investigation Units which have been established in seven districts for investigation of cases involving crime against women.
Other drives for BBBP are been taken in states like Kolkata too in collaboration with Govt ministries for spreading awareness of this urgent matter. And in states like Rajasthan, cash incentives are been given for encouraging the education of girl child, whereas in states like Odisha the State Govt launched scheme like the, ‘Biju Kanya Ratna Yojana’ for saving girl child, creating awareness about gender discrimination against girls, their health, nutrition and education. Such and many other programmes are needed to be taken for having a drastic change in the position of girl child, for safeguarding their rights and making them self-efficient by providing a quality education which they deserve.
REFERENCES AND CITATION
(1) Content accessed from: http://wcd.nic.in/BBBPScheme/main.html
(2) In ” Trends in selective abortions of girls in India: analysis of nationally representative birth histories from 1990 to 2005 and census data from 1991 to 2011 Prabhat Jha, Maya A Kesler, Rajesh Kumar, Faujdar Ram, Usha Ram, Lukasz Aleksandrowicz, Diego G Bassani, Shailaja Chandra, Jayant K Banthia” Accessed from : http://www.unfpa.org/resources/trends-selective-abortions-girls-india
(3) Data from District Information System for Education (DISE); accessed from: http://www.cry.org/issues-views/statistics-on-children-in-india/
(4) In “ A Study That Followed 3000 Children for 10 Years Shows How Child Marriages Can Be Prevented” on The Better India, accessed from: Swapna Majumdar (http://www.thebetterindia.com/author/swapnamajumdar/) July 24, 2016 Education (http://www.thebetterindia.com/topics/education/), Women (http://www.thebetterindia.com/topics/women/)
(5) In “Lessons from 100 years of girls’ education” accessed from: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Lessons-from-100-years-of-girls-education/articleshow/52283691.cms
(6) In “Child laborers – The Cheap Commodity of India” accessed from: http://www.savegirlchild.org/child-labour.html
(7) In “Child laborers – The Cheap Commodity of India” accessed from: http://www.savegirlchild.org/child-labour.html
(8) In “This International Day of the Girl Child, what are the challenges that plague the girl child in India” accessed from: https://yourstory.com/2016/10/internationalgirlchilddaychallenges/
(9) In “ ‘BETI BACHAO BETI PADHAO’ CAMPAIGN A PUBLIC MOVEMENT NOW: CM” accessed from: http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/beti-bachao-beti-padhao-campaign-a-public-movement-now-cm.html
(10) In “Beti Bachao drive launched” accessed from: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Beti-Bachao-drive-launched/articleshow/54434260.cms
(11) In “For the girl child: Cash incentives to promote education” accessed from: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/For-the-girl-child-Cash-incentives-to-promote-education/articleshow/53802765.cms
(12) In “Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik launches ‘Biju Kanya Ratna Yojana’ to save girl child” accessed from: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/odisha-cm-naveen-patnaik-launches-biju-kanya-ratna-yojana-to-save-girl-child-3011685/ .