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Birthday pangs for national girl child day

india Updated: Nov 15, 2007 02:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has shot down Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Renuka Chowdhury’s plan to celebrate November 9 as ‘national girl child day’. Reason: November 9 is Sonia Gandhi’s birthday.

In a bid to highlight the issues concerning the girl child, like female feticide, higher malnourishment among them and discrimination, the WCD Ministry proposed to celebrate November 9 as ‘girl child day’.

India is among the countries with highest female feticide rate and had witnessed a fall in the population of girl children in the 0-6 age group in most of the northern Indian states. The day was to be celebrated to create public awareness about these issues, a WCD Ministry official said. The government had given its approval to the ministry’s proposal some time ago. The ministry had sought the views of the School Education Department of the HRD ministry, Social Welfare Ministry, Health Ministry and Home Ministry.

While all other ministries gave their approval straight away, the Home Ministry wanted to know whether November 9 was dedicated to any other national function. Once the WCD Ministry said November 9 was free for celebrating ‘girl child day’, the Home Ministry gave its approval.

With the Home Ministry’s approval, the WCD Ministry was in full swing to conduct a series of events on November 9 to create awareness about girl child rights all over the country. The ministry however got cold feet over the proposal when it learnt that Sonia Gandhi was not keen to celebrate November 9 as girl child day because it was her birthday. Since then, there is no talk of when ‘girl child day’ would be celebrated.