Governance · Politics · Society · Strategy · Women Empowerment

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao : Towards Equality

Ridam Arsh elucidates the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme of the Central Government and what maybe achieved as part of it. The article also specifies the significance of the education of the girl child and specifies the challenges that lie, and how such could be adequately addressed.

“Girls are strong walls, Education is their cement; Studies are necessary for their upliftment”

-Ridam Arsh

It is considered to be a sin to be born as a girl in this Nation, where we kill them before they become a part of this world. Putting an end to all the atrocities faced by the young girls in the Indian Families, the pet project of Save Daughter, Educate Daughter was launched by the PMO India Narendra Modi in January 2015. There are more than 100 districts across the country where there is low child sex ratio and this scheme aims to focus on the welfare of the girl child and is a positive discriminatory scheme.

As per the Census of 2011, the Child Sex Ratio is 919/1000 which has shown huge decline over the 10 years where it was 927/1000. (Figure 1)
Certain issues that require immediate attention are from the initial detection of the sex of the child at the time of the birth (and may be sometimes before birth which is illegal now), even though it has been declared to be illegal to kill the girl child before or after birth, it is still practiced in many parts of the country. Then comes the basic opportunities, that are neglected to a girl child only for the reason that she is a ‘girl’, which include education, healthcare and medical facilities, safety of their property and person. All these issues are of major concern. Providing sufficient and equal opportunities to girls shall include the basic growth of the child, but what will lead to her development is education, which forms a significant role in the overall progress of the child.

For the purpose of facilitating the improvement in the existing low ratios, the scheme provides for an incentive by declaring a reward of Rs. 1 Crore to such village which maintains the child sex ratio from not being declining, and provides equal opportunities to the girl child.

The Indian Constitution has emphasized on the Free and Compulsory education to all. Important steps taken by the Government include addition of a chapter on ‘Gender Equality’ in the curriculum, at the primary education level. It has also been proposed that a specific budget has been set aside to meet with the requirements of maintaining woman safety in villages as well in metro cities. Crisis management centres in all the private and government hospitals have been proposed to set up from the Nirbhaya budget in Delhi.

One such reality of today’s world is that, where adopting couple are ready to wait for a boy child for the adoption purpose for more than 6 months, and on the other hand, they refuse to adopt a girl child who is waiting for a life full of hopes. These scenarios need to be changed; we need a world of equality. Mere addition of essence of “Equality” in the Constitution doesn’t fulfil the purpose.

Some of the important steps which need to be taken are making the Anti- Dowry laws stringent, and on the other hand, making the misuse of such laws heavily punishable. The Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, provides for the Registration of marriage to be done but it does not provide it to be a mandatory provision. Omission to make entry in the Marriage registers doesn’t affect the validity of the marriage. Such provision shall be made compulsory so as to keep a check over the child marriages that are still being solemnized in many parts, such as villages in Rajasthan.

PMO has stated many a time in his speech on the ‘BBBP’ scheme that we cannot claim to be a 21st century citizen when we have mind set as that of 18th century, where a girl child is considered to be a burden and she is denied basic necessities and opportunities in life.

This Scheme cannot prove to be successful as long as every individual understands that the daughters are a boon to the families. During Navratras, the people who look for Kanjaks in their neighbourhoods are the same people who killed the Durga of their house in the mother’s womb. This issue doesn’t have an emotional side, but it has more of a moral side.

From Kalpana Chawla to Sakshi Malik, both belong to a State (Haryana) where sex ratio is in the range of 775-837, which implies that 150-225 girls are being killed out of each 1000 girls and the overall child sex ratio in the State being 871. Haryana was at the lowest rank in 2011 census among all the states in child sex ratio of 836 girls for 1000 boys (Figure 2). Neither Kalpana Chawla nor Sakshi Malik require description for who they are, because of such respect that they have earned from the entire world. Girls just need a life; they can make it to the top on their own. Let them live, let them educate; she will become the power of the Nation.