It's the national girl child day, but thanks to the women and child development ministry's faux pas issuing an advertisement in newspapers that features a former Pakistani air chief, the focus on the day and important issue like female foeticide is lost, said women activists.
"I am amazed at how little work the new women and child development minister has done in terms of protecting the girl child and curbing female foeticide. And on top of that they goof up while issuing an ad on the same - now all people are talking about is the faux pas, the issue of female foeticide is forgotten," Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research (CSR) said on Sunday.
"It has been one and a half years since the last meeting of Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) board, but the health ministry and the women and child development ministry is hardly bothered. At this rate how are we ever going to curb the evil of female foeticide?" she asked.
The women and child development ministry has been organising national girl child day celebrations since Friday - complete with award ceremonies for school children and cultural programmes. However, Sunday's goof up put the minister Krishna Tirath in a tight spot.
"An inquiry is being ordered into the matter. We are convening the meeting," Tirath told reporters.
Asha Mehta, a woman activist said: "If the matter would not have been highlighted by the media, hardly anyone would have noticed the goof up. But now that it has, that's all that is being talked about. The focus on girl child day - which was why the ad was issued in the first place - is lost."
Rakhi Bajaj, who works with an NGO working on women's issues, further said: "The minister is saying that the intention of issuing the ad today should be kept in mind before jumping to conclusions. But intention is reflected in action, and we have hardly seen any action on behalf of the ministry in saving the girl child."
"Even implementation of the scheme - the National Mission for Women - which was created to combat social evils against women and proposed by the president, is not done. It's all about grand announcements and then ineffective implementation," she fumed.
Sunday's ad goof-up left the government red faced and earned the ire of the opposition.