Haryana’s efforts at saving girl child firmly on track
Haryana’s flagship “save the girl child” programme appears to be firmly on track despite a temporary setback when the sex ratio at birth (SRB) dipped to 914 in July, raising worry that touts offering gender detection services had become active again.
As per the latest data of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beto Padhao’ programme, which chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar himself monitors, the cumulative sex ratio at birth (SRB) rose from 914 in July to 919 in October. This raised hopes about the state hitting last year’s annual SRB figure of 923, which is so far the highest.
Last year, the state’s cumulative SRB till October was 920 when 2, 01, 030 female and 2, 18, 393 male children were born. This year, till October, the state saw births of 2, 07, 927 female against 2, 26, 359 male children.
Haryana’s annual SRB in 2011 was 833 while it rose to 876 in 2015, and further improved to 900 in 2016. The annual SRB remained static at 914 in 2017 and 2018, and jumped to 923 in 2019.
As per the 2011 census, the child sex ratio (CSR) of Haryana (children below six years) was 834 females for every 1,000 males, while the national CSR was 918.
According to Dr Rakesh Gupta, IAS, and nodal officer for ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign, there was a lull during the lockdown period, but later reports started pouring in that touts involved in sex determination activities were once again on the prowl. “We kept our fingers crossed during the lockdown, but from July onwards, we increased our surveillance and went after the touts,” he said.
Sirsa has best SRB
So far, Sirsa is best performing district with an SRB of 947 (till October), while Jhajjar with an SRB of 880 is the first from the bottom. Among the districts with the lowest SRB (up to October) are Charkhi Dadri (885), Karnal (898), Mahendergarh (901), Jind (905), Rohtak (906), Palwal (909), Rewari (912), Gurugram (913), Faridabad and Yamunanagar (914 each).
As per the data, Ambala district’s SRB up to October 2019 was 951 and this year during the same period it dipped to 919. On the other hand, Bhiwani district improved from 894 SRB last year till October to 923 during the corresponding period this year.
Experts involved in this programme say that SRB fluctuates every month and the real picture emerges in December when the data of 12 months is calculated.
Dr Gupta claims that “more than 28,000 girls have been saved in the wombs” ever since the campaign was launched in 2014.
“We are confident that the SRB this year will be the same as last year. The analysis of the data every year points towards a rise in the SRB from October to March,” says Dr Gupta, pointing out how the health department teams while battling Covid-19 kept chasing the touts.
In five months between June and October this year, as many as 47 first information reports (FIRs) were registered under the PNDT (Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques) and MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) Acts, as per the official data.
In the first 10 months this year, 65 FIRs were registered against 61 FIRs during the corresponding months last year.
In October, as many as 11 FIRs were lodged while in September, the number of FIRs was 17. In August, there were 10 FIRs, six in July and three in June in which over 2, 000 accused had been arrested.
And a sizable number of the FIRs, Dr Gupta said, were lodged after the inter-state raids.
A total 802 FIRs stand registered (450 under PNDT, 352 under MTP) till October since May 2015.
Among the total FIRs include over 200 inter-state raids that includes the maximum of over 90 raids conducted in Uttar Pradesh, near 50 in Delhi, and over 40 in Punjab.
Within Haryana, the highest 61 FIRs have been lodged in Sonepat and the lowest four in Charkhi Dadi in the past five years.
“We register the FIRs only after the tout receives money from the decoy (a woman) after the sex determination test. We have nabbed the accused, who include repeat offenders, carrying the portable ultrasound machines of the size of a laptop,” said a key official of the programme.
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