A state-funded welfare scheme to encourage the birth of more girls to restore the balance in sex ratio is running flop for the past eight years.
Since 2005, only 66 couples have enrolled themselves in Patiala district under the Balri Rakshak Yojana of the Punjab government. The scheme puts Rs 500 a month into the account of every girl who is a single child of non-income-tax-paying parents who opted for sterilisation after her birth.
The girl gets the incentive until she is 18 or until any of the parents becomes income-tax payer. The incentive is double (Rs 1,000) if the parents have only two daughters for children and yet have gone in for sterilisation. Documents available with Hindustan Times show that six couples registered in 2005, 13 in 2006, 10 in 2007, 3 in 2008, 10 in 2009, 6 in 2010, 9 in 2011, and another 9 in 2012. Most of these couples were from villages.
“The state government failed to promote the scheme,” said a health department worker in the district (on the condition of anonymity, because the worker is a government servant and not permitted to speak with the press officially). “There are many couples who, in spite of having only a daughter or two besides them in family, are yet to register under the scheme. The conditions for claiming the benefit are too stringent, perhaps.”
The most stringent of the conditions is permanent sterilisation. “Many poor couples having two daughters but the fear of sterilisation keeps them away from the scheme," said the source. “The department is trying its best make more people aware of the scheme,” said civil surgeon Dr Virinder Singh Mohi. “Across the state, the scheme has the same response. We'll now talk about it in seminars and training programmes.”
Balri Rakshak Yojana puts Rs 500 a month into the account of every girl who is a single child of non-income-tax-paying parents who opted for sterilisation after her birth
The girl gets the incentive until she is 18 or until any of the parents becomes income-tax payer
The incentive is double (Rs 1,000) if the parents have only two daughters for children and yet have gone in for sterilization
What's keeping couples away
Lack of promotion of the scheme
The fear of permanent sterilisation