‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ Led To Improvement In Sex Ratio At Birth, Says Government

The Women and Child Ministry now plans to extend this programme to all the districts of the country.

New Delhi: The government on Friday claimed that there has been an improvement in sex ratio at birth in 104 districts selected for the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme, which aims at checking female infanticide and educating the girl child.

“Of the total 161 districts where the programme is being implemented, an increasing trend in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) is visible in 104 districts,” Secretary, Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry, RK Shrivastava told reporters.

“119 districts have reported progress in registration of pregnancies in the first trimester and 146 districts have shown improvement in institutional deliveries,” he said.

The senior official was comparing 2016-2017 figures with those of 2015-2016. The data for the above three parameters was derived from health ministry’s Health Management Information System (HIMS).

The Women and Child Ministry now plans to extend this programme to all the districts of the country with focus on the 56 of the total 161 districts that have shown a decline in Sex Ratio at Birth.

The scheme is one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects and was launched by him in January, 2015 in Haryana’s Panipat. It focuses on districts with the worst child sex ratio (CSR) as per the 2011 Census.

The goal of the programme is to address the issue of decline in child sex ratio in critical districts through an awareness campaign as well as multi-sectoral interventions, which include registration of pregnancies in first trimester increased institutional deliveries, and prohibition of sex determination.

The top five districts that showed improvement in sex ratio at birth (SRB) in 2016-2017 as compared to the previous year were Dibang Valley (761 to 1176); Lakshwadeep (832 to 955); Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh (849 to 943); Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh (500-594) and Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir (949-1018).

The five districts that have shown the sharpest decline during the same time period are Saiha, Mizoram (1022-898), Nicobar (948-839), Shopian, Jammu and Kashmir (1062-959), Bandipore, Jammu and Kashmir (964-885) and Ghaziabad (977-908).

Sex ratio at birth is the number of girls born for every 1,000 boys and is recorded at birth. This data is collected annually. Child sex ratio is recorded for a population in the age group of 0 to 6 years and is collected once in 10 years. It is primarily influenced by sex ratio at birth and mortality in early childhood.

Haryana, which has the worst child sex ratio according to the 2011 census (834 girls for every 1000 boys against the national average of 918), has shown improvement in sex ratio at birth in 18 of the total 20 districts selected in the state for the programme. The other two districts have shown a decline, according to Joint Secretary, WCD, K Moses Chalai.

“Ten years of SRB is equal to CSR. So naturally, if sex ratio at birth improves it will result in an improved CSR. While we can’t compare CSR with SRB we have seen that broadly sex ratio at birth for two years is on an improving trend and above the CSR of 2011,” Moses Chalai told reporters.

In Rajasthan, of the total 40 districts selected, 10 recorded an improvement in sex ratio at birth and in Punjab 14 out of total 20 districts showed an upward trend, Moses said.

In Uttar Pradesh, 21 districts were selected for the Beti Bachao Beto Padhao scheme and 15 showed an improvement in sex ratio at birth.

Five showed a decline and the remaining one district has been “stable”.

In the national capital region, three districts showed a decline (East Delhi, South Delhi, South-West Delhi) and four showed an improvement (North-West Delhi, North Delhi, West Delhi and North-East Delhi).

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