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Take a selfie, save a girl child

Take a selfie, save a girl child

Prime Minister Modi on Sunday expressed his concern over the declining sex ratio in the country and pushed for a campaign to save girls by calling on people to post selfies with their daughters on the social media to strengthen the government’s ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ program.

Modi was speaking on ‘Mann ki Baat’ program voicing his concern over the highly rampant issue with the situation ‘more serious’ in the state of Haryana. The PM referred to a contest, ‘selfie with daughter’ initiated by the head of Bibipur village of Haryana, Sunil Jaglan, wherein fathers were asked to post selfies with their daughters. Modi said that the initiative inspired him to start the campaign to save the girl child and asked the people to post their selfies with daughters on twitter with ‘selfiewithdaughter’ hashtag. They were also asked to post a powerful tagline for the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign and the most inspirational ones would be retweeted by the Prime Minister along with the selfie announcing it in the future edition of ‘Mann Ki Baat’. With the move, the PM hopes to convert the initiative into a public campaign.

Haryana has the worst sex ratio in the country. Of the hundred districts with a skewed gender ratio, twelve of them are in Haryana. The khap panchayat has even imposed penalization for female sex selective abortions. Pregnant women were traced down and counseled. Following all these attempts the gender ratio in the state was improved. The BJP government has not been able to do much despite the critical scenario and this has been one of the main reasons for the violation of women’s rights starting right from birth. It’s the responsibility of the government to ensure smooth implementation of law. But the authorities are pandering to the interests of the corporates who commercialize the healthcare sector sidelining the law. But the PM has not done anything to prevent the laxity in stringently implementing the law that bans female foeticide and diluting it through amendments.

Gujarat contributes more than 7 per cent towards India’s GDP and stands 33 per cent ahead of the country’s revenue. Despite these facts, the state, once ruled by Prime Minister himself was one of the two states in the country, the other being Maharashtra, that stood first in the atrocities against women including child marriage and foeticide. It lags behind other states in the child sex ratio- number of girls under six years of age. According to the recently released report by the central government auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), two of the country’s most economically developed states, Maharashtra and Gujarat fail to properly implement the laws and programs that were instituted to protect girls. The failure to implement the law is responsible for the falling child sex ratio in both the states.

The female sex ratio at the national level was 933 per 1000 boys earlier which later increased to 943. But in Gujarat, the number declined. Out of the 141 cases registered, only 6 have been under consideration. Not even a single person has been penalized in Gujarat under the prohibition of Child Marriage Act although 659 cases are registered. The gender ratio is found to be higher in urban areas than in rural areas the reason being the presence of medical centres and other facilities in cities and towns. The hospital lobby is striving hard to dilute the law. Formulating laws and implementing them successfully is the responsibility of the government. But Modi seems to be overly concerned only about taking selfies rather than changing the predicament of women in India.

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