Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today advocated quality education for girls to make women the main driver of socio-economic change in the State, check child marriage and high fertility rate and improve gender ratio.

Launching a health scheme called ‘Dus Ka Dum’ here, the Chief Minister said the ills of society must be addressed on priority basis and girls should be educated to usher in the desired change.

High fertility rate of 3.6 per cent and child marriage must be stopped in view of its impact on population growth, which was about 25 per cent on decadal basis, Kumar said. He expressed concern that if these issues were not addressed, the state’s population could double by 2051.

The increase in population would push up the density of people per sq. km. in the state’s land area of 94,000 sq. km.

Kumar said his Government has given incentives like uniforms and bicycles to girls and an additional 4,000 higher secondary schools would be set up.

The State Government has also taken steps to empower women by providing 50 per cent reservation for them in panchayati raj institutions and co-operative societies, he said.

Problems like high fertility rate, population growth and foeticide would take care of itself when women oppose age-old social vices that give undue importance to boys in social, cultural and religious contexts, he said.

(This article was published on April 7, 2013)
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