Rajasthan panchayats show the way to improving live birth of girls

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 23, 2015

On June 18, a Delhi-based doctor was arrested in Rajasthan’s Chomu district after an FIR was filed as he was allegedly conducting sonography to abet sex selection.

Sex selection, which requires some amount of financial comfort, was primarily an urban phenomenon in this desert State till the Census 2011 revealed the problem penetrated into rural Rajasthan.

“There had been a steep 21-point decline in the child sex ratio from 909 in 2001 to 888 in 2011 and rural Rajasthan had significantly contributed to this drastic fall, which is being witnessed across the six districts,” said Rakhee Badhwar, State Programme Manager, Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), which in collaboration with the JRD Tata Trust launched a three-year project in 2012 in Jaipur and Jodhpur to help panchayats raise awareness on the issue.

Wake-up call

Rajasthan, known for the tradition of marking homes where a baby boy is born with a ‘swastika’ sign, signalling celebration and joy, had to be given a “strong wake-up call”, she said at a press conference here to release the project report.

Volunteer team

Badhwar said under the project, which covered 180 gram panchayats, a volunteer team was created and trained to spread awareness, as well as organise celebrations to felicitate parents of girl children, all with the help of village heads and women.

“We helped open bank accounts for 40 girl children as well as arrange for immunisation of mothers and girl children,” said Vinita Rajawat, Sarpanch, Daulatpura Kotada.

Vibrant dialogue

Claiming that the three-year project had recorded higher live births of girls – 1,620 girls against 1,460 boys - in 30 gram panchayat headquarters for the period April 2014-March 2015, CFAR said while the project enabled them to engage in a “vibrant dialogue” with the community and understand their concerns, the challenge ahead is big due to deeply entrenched patriarchal mindsets.

Published on June 23, 2015

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