As assured in its first union budget this July, the Modi government has begun the massive exercise of adopting 100 districts with low child sex ratio across the country for the girl child’s cause under the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme.
Its peculiarity includes convergence of the departments of education, health and social welfare for the scheme’s implementation.
Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi rolled out the scheme’s guidelines and sought suggestions from the northern states at a regional consultation workshop here on Friday, leaving it to the officials of the departments concerned to identify their areas of concern.
Of these 100 districts, each to be funded with Rs 75 lakh within this financial year only, 12 districts have been adopted from Haryana, 11 from Punjab, five from Jammu and Kashmir and one from Himachal Pradesh in the northern region.
“Changing the mindset should be the priority now,” said the union minister, as she expressed concern over the national decline in the child sex ratio in the last two decades.
The implementation of the PNDT Act, the fate of the existing schemes on girl child under different departments, overlapping of already existing schemes and the timely response from the states remain some of the key areas of concern to be addressed.
Union ministry of women and child development additional secretary Preeti Sudan’s abrupt refusal to fund Punjab’s prevailing scheme of ‘bicycles for school girls’ under the BBBP scheme came on the surface at the workshop.
“It is up to the state to either wind up the schemes or to continue,” she said, when asked about the fate of the schemes of different departments that overlapped.
Sudan rolled out the specific components of the BBBP scheme that mainly included financial aid to the girls stepping up from primary to secondary education and then to senior secondary level, opening up new schools in the neighbourhood in line with the Right to Education dictate of a school for every child within 1 to 3 km, to begin with.
The Centre would soon issue letters to the states for the BBBP scheme’s implementation.