Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi intends to “name and shame” districts that do not proactively work towards saving the girl child.
With 23 of the 100 districts of the country with low child sex ratio earmarked under the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign falling in Haryana and Punjab, the minister on Friday set two weeks’ deadline for getting district plans while addressing deputy commissioners concerned in Chandigarh on Friday. The 100 earmarked districts also include Una in Himachal Pradesh and the union territory of Chandigarh.
“There should be real-time reporting on all pregnant women in these districts. The deputy commissioners of these districts have the power to prepare their individual plans -- it is up to them what incentives or disincentives they want to suggest. We will go through the plans and provide them funds. But the plans have to be submitted within the deadline or I will name and shame districts which fail to do so by complaining about them,” Maneka said.
She invited suggestions from deputy commissioners of these districts -- those from Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh were present -- on how the campaign can yield results. Among incentives that worked in their districts some cited involvement of religious and dera heads and financial sops.
Sangrur deputy commissioner Arshdeep Singh said the 1% cut in stamp duty if the property was registered in the name of women had helped improve the child sex ratio in his district. A former deputy commissioner of Kurukshetra said they had involved religious heads and deras in spreading the message and it had yielded results.
Some others suggested that institutionalised deliveries should be made mandatory while some said food and fuel subsidies be linked to the girl child. As part of the campaign, the minister said three months ago, she had written to all state governments to recruit 33% women in the police force. “Why do we need to waste time in sensitising male cops? We should recruit women cops instead.”
‘Hold fresh polls where husband proxy for sarpanch’
Saying that the 33% reservation for women in panchayats had failed to empower them, the union minister asked deputy commissioners to hold fresh elections in villages where there were pati-pradhans (proxy sarpanches). “We cannot bring accountability, financial or otherwise, if the woman sarpanch just signs and the husband wields the power. He cannot be held accountable for the bungling as the papers have the thumb impression or signature of his wife. Please hold fresh elections, where there are pati-pradhans. This is important for the Save the Girl Child campaign,” she said.