Despite poor sex ratio, Punjab lags in implementation of Beti Bachao scheme
Punjab is among the worst-performing states in terms of child sex ratio, but has failed to make proper use of the ambitious ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme so far. The scheme launched in January 2015 has been marred by delayed release of funds, short utilisation, non-compliance and lack of proper monitoring.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has found the state government not only failed to start the scheme in nine districts, but most of the funds released by the Centre were not utilised. “Out of ₹6.36 crore released by the central government to the state government during 2014-2016, only ₹91 lakh were utilised up to March 2016,” it said.
The audit report on non-public sector undertakings tabled in the state assembly on Wednesday said the central ministry had last year drawn the attention of the state to the scheme’s target of improvement in sex ratio at birth (SRB), indicating there was decrease in six districts – Barnala, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Sangrur, Mohali and Muktsar – during 2015 as compared to 2014. Audit also noticed a decline in SRB in four of these districts.
Although a state task force was constituted for monitoring the programme activities, no quarterly meetings were held for convergence and coordination between different departments as required under the guidelines, noted the report.