While Congress scion Rahul Gandhi’s padyatra across Uttar Pradesh aims to highlight the plight of farmers, Nationalist Congress Party MP and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule will start a 70-km march in August to highlight the menace of female infanticide in the state, which has a skewed sex ratio.
According to the 2011 census, Maharashtra has the state average of child sex ratio (number of girls per 1,000 boys between the age of 0 to 6) is 883 while the national average stands at 914. The figures have slipped from 2001, when the state average was 913 whereas the national average was 927.
Sule, who represents Baramati in the Lok Sabha, will also launch a five-year-long awareness programme to highlight the menace of female infanticide.
The programme will be flagged off with four-day padyatra at Naigaon in Satara on August 25 and it would conclude at the birthplace of Savitribai Phule in Pune on August 28.
Sule said the recent incident of infanticide in her own constituency Baramati spurred her to start this campaign. “Just legislation is not enough,” said Sule. “There would be discussions, debates as well planned programmes to make people aware that a girl child is not a burden,” she said. Sule’s constituency in western Maharashtra, the sugar bowl of India, boasts of better economic condition, but poor female sex ratio.
More than 500 girls would also participate in this campaign. The state government would partner with the Yeshwantrao Chavan Centre, which is run by NCP chief.
“More than highlighting what went wrong over the years, the whole campaign is designed to devise ways to eliminate this menace,” said Sharad Kale, retired municipal commissioner, who is currently serving as the secretary of the YB Chavan Centre.
Various programmes such as essay and elocution competitions, street plays as well as talks by celebrities would also be used to spread awareness. The YB Chavan Centre will work closely with NGOs, celebrities, social activists as well media to make this campaign a grand success.