ON THE eve of the Girl Child Day on Sunday – interestingly coinciding with the commencement of Navaratri festival that celebrates the ‘Shakti’ – organisations working for women’s and children’s issues have called for more focus on the girl children for their survival and better life.
Girls and young women in the age group of 0 -18 years comprise nearly one fourth of the country’s population and 45 per cent of female population. But a cursory look at the condition of girl child shows that there is yawing gap in the provisions and a strong discrimination in the society towards girls in the state, the activists feel.
The Census figures show that out of 32 districts in the country that have child sex ratio less than 849 - two districts are from Madhya Pradesh namely Bhind and Morena. Two other districts have sex ratio between 850 and 899 namely Gwalior and Datia.
A total 14 districts in the state have general sex ratio (adult) of less than 900. Sandhya Shaili of state unit of All India Democratic Women’s Association says that its ironic that the girl child are generally a neglected lot. She said that the AIDWA has decided to start a unique campaign wherein they would send through the girl children invited to special feast of Navaratri – messages of survival and protection through cards.
The survival of girl children is thus quite difficult when compared to the boys. Even if they survive girls are discriminated against. Female infants are breastfed less frequently and for shorter duration than boys. Girl’s nutrition intake is inferior in quality and quantity; boys do have access to higher value food and are given the first priority in the family.
Senior pediatrician and president of the MP unit of the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) Dr Sheela Bhambal says that though not everyone in the society reject girl children, there are subtle trends that need to be changed. She said that girls are responsibility of the society and it should fulfill this responsibility.
Child marriage on Akshay Trithiya is heard of easily and is also one of the contributing factor to early pregnancy and more maternal deaths in the state. Activist R K Sharma says that awareness and attitudinal change in society are the only solutions.
As per India Country report violence against children the state of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra account for 44.2 per cent of child rape cases as reported in the country. Madhya Pradesh also happens to be the state where crime against children rates the highest in the country.
As per state education department web site more than 2.39 lakh girls are out of school at elementary level thus deprived of their right to education. However, according to Archaya Sahay of Child Line, in recent past there have been some positive changes. The Child Line Bhopal recorded only three cases of minor rapes against 18 recorded during previous year and half. The justice delivery system has also become faster, the organisation feel.
Diagonistic centres sealed
CHIEF MEDICAL and health officer, Morena has sealed at least seven private nursing homes and diagnostic centers in the district, where sex determination tests were allegedly being conducted. CMO Dr. HS Sharma said the High Court had recently directed the CMOs to present their reports on Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) committee working in their districts within two weeks.
Social worker Asha Singh Sikarwar and secretary of Dharti Gram Uthhan Samiti, Devendra Singh Bhadoria had filed a PIL alleging that several nursing homes in the district were conducting sex determination tests and illegal abortions.
The district administration sealed seven nursing homes- Singhal Ultrasound and Nursing Home, Parvati Nursing Home, Premi Nursing Home, Vidyawati Research Centre, BL Medical Centre, RL Hospital and Agarwal Nursing Home and found them flouting Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act. The CMO has also issued notices to terminate their licenses for operating ultrasound machines.