In Punjab, the battle for survival begins early for girls -in the womb. It is not a war they are known to winning (there are only 784 women to every 1000 men in the state). But Jalahmajra, a village in the state's Nawanshahar district, is willing to let its daughters live.
In some respects, it has achieved the impossible-- registering more female than male births (1100 against 1000 males). The government has responded with a prize of Rs 3 lakh for the village. Sukhwinder Kaur, who recently celebrated the birth of her first granddaughter, said: "We have prayed with folded hands to people to refrain from doing this deed. Whether it is a girl or a boy it does not matter."
So what worked here? A zero-tolerance approach to sex determination tests and a hawk-eyed vigil on pregnant women. "We have also linked it to the birth and death register. Once that is in place, we automatically come to know which particular pregnancy should have ended in a birth at what time. If that is not reflect in the birth register, it means something has gone wrong. We can then catch the culprits," civil surgeon Harcharan Singh said.
Thirty members of the primitive tribes of Jharkhand will go on an all-expenses paid trip around the country, thanks to the state government, which has approved a sum of Rs 20 lakh for the purpose.
They will be taken on a tour of different parts of the country, including the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal. "We want the reclusive tribes to see for themselves the development that has taken place in other states," said Ramesh Singh Munda, state welfare minister. "This is an exercise to bring the tribes into the mainstream of the society."