Introduced in 2005 by the state government after a considerable decline in girl child sex ratio (0 to 6-year-old age group) raised concern, Balri Rakshak Yojana, a welfare scheme to discourage the social evil of female foeticide and change the attitude of people towards the girl child, has been suspended by the government for an indefinite period.
With acute shortage of funds and no financial help from the government, the health department has completely failed to promote the scheme among people and targeted beneficiaries have also not been getting incentives as announced by the government.
Under the scheme, the government had decided to credit Rs 500 each month into the bank account of parents of every girl who was a single child. Parents who did not pay income tax and opted for sterilisation after the birth of the single girl child were the targeted beneficiaries. The incentive was Rs 1,000 if the couple had two daughters and opted for sterilisation.
As per the programme, the girl got the incentive till she turned 18 or one of the parents became an income-tax payer.
In Jalandhar, three couples registered under the scheme in 2005, 11 in 2006, one in 2008, two in 2009, two in 2012, and another five in 2013 while no registrations happened in 2014 and 2015.
Most of them hailed from nearby villages and poor localities.
Lack of public awareness was responsible for poor registration under the scheme, said a senior official, adding that other issues including fear of permanent sterilisation among couples, tedious procedure of the scheme were not major reasons as Asha workers managed to promote the programme.
He added that though the department used to pay Rs 500 per case to Asha workers on successful registration of a couple, but funds did not arrive from the government for the same.
No billboard or notice for promoting the scheme could be seen at the civil hospital.
Health secretary Hussan Lal said, “ The health department is not getting funds for the scheme. An order has been circulated in all districts regarding discontinuation of further registration under the programme.”
Objectives of scheme
Balance the skewed sex ratio
Control burgeoning population, educate people about family planning
Decrease child mortality rate
The couple should be residents of Punjab and submit residence proof
Daughter’s birth certificate
Both husband and wife should not be income-tax payers