Sex Ratio is an important indicator of human development. While most of the developed and developing countries are having a favorable sex ratio of above 1000 females for 1000 males, India had been lacking due to it's historical backwardness and societal norms. Haryana, one of the worst hit state with a sex ratio of 879 according to 2011 census had made a splendid turn around by registering 900+ sex ratio at birth for the first time in two decades. The preference of male child led to huge underground female infanticide centres. Also, coupled with patriarchal mindset imprinted deep into the community worsened the situation further.
The beautiful story of this change had it's challenges but those were overcome by following factors :
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao(B3P) along with Sukanya Samridhi and Aapki Beti Humari Beti Scheme : Government of India social campaign that aims to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services meant for girls was a turning point in the struggle.These schemes was launched in Haryana with special focus on the state.
- Commendable Work by B3P Cell under CMO: Haryana Govt. launched a B3P cell under its CMO who has been responsible for the successful implementation of the project. The B3P cell helped in coordination of various departments under B3P project and used the technology amiably.e.g.- The CMO did video conferencing with various deputy commisioners and used social media to share ideas and discuss information.
- Effective implementation of law against illegal sex determination and female foeticide: Convergence of all departments at the district level, coupled with strong political will and coordinated effort by all in the state. Stringent implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques(PCPNDT) Act and the Medical Terminal of Pregnancy Act. 391 FIRs lodged since May 2015 and more than 1000 offenders arrested.
- Efficient Co-ordination among different Departments :Social media group was created to share and exchange information which enabled healthy competition between different districts and helped them learn from each other’s experiences.
- Public Awareness through rallies , street plays helped in sensitising people about the demerits of low sex ratios and about the merits of having a society of minimal gender gap. Hashtag(#) selfie with daughter promoted on social media when sarpanch of village Bibipur in Haryana took a selfie with his daughter and generated worldwide fame.
- Rise of women in sports: Impact of the associative and famous personalities like Haryana girls, including Sakshi Malik, Geeta Phogat, Babita and Deepa Malik, winning laurels for the country in sports helped the cause “tremendously”.
- Role of Mass Media :Mass media had also criticize the society for its behavior for girl child and their literacy. As it is relevent from many commercial ads too reflecting the condition of girls in Haryana.Media has also encouraged the success and miracle done by daughters of haryana in International Platform.
- Role of Society and Citizens :Citizens in Haryana became more aware motivated and literate due to rececent developments and are encouraging their daughters in all domain of curricula as it is relevent after 2016 olympics that many new akhadas have been opened for girls andwrestling is being encouraged in tandem.
- Better Education facilities: With surge of private universities in haryana districts, education has become affordable and easier and various incentives like scholarship for girls further provide impetus for increase in girls enrolments in schools and colleges. Increasing literacy among the females of the state, made them stand up for their rights against forceful compliance to orthodox practices.
- Better Health facilities and incentives for womens : Better antenatal and postnatal care facilities like through institutional deliveries, mission indradhanush for vaccination, antenatal checkups to reduce IMR, MMR. Allocation of funds to pregnant women for Nutrition purpose and incentivising girl child birth-with funds for her marriage alleviated perception of burden of girl child.
- Reforms in panchayati Raj institution : Compulsory educational requirements and increased women reservations to 50% in Panchayats has broken the back of patriarchal society in Haryana and helped deserving candidates and females to lead from the front.
- Failure of marriages: Due to low sex ratio, Haryanvis mostly had to import brides from sex surplus ratios like Kerala, which failed in the long term due to language and cultural difference.
- Multi layered cooperation among the stake holders : involved have helped the state to curb the falling sex ratio.ie. convergence of all depratments at all level along with the strong political will to fight the menance of female foeticide has enabled to overcome the hurdles .
Haryana has done well to cross the 900 mark in sex ratio, however new challenges awaiting for Haryana in form of :
- Mushrooming of illegal ultrasound centres in nearby states.Haryana need to keep the neighbouring states in loop to better the sex ratio. Doctors, quacks and paramedics are themselves involved in the act.
- Social structure of patriarchal mindset and that of 'Boy over a girl' sets back to feet of state in this regard.
- Impact of population policies on sex ratio.
- Economic consideration associated with daughters.
- Favoritism against female in society.
- Social insecurity for women.
- Low literacy ratio (particularly in rural areas).
Some other suggestions :
Following suggestions can help Haryana in improving its sex ratio :
- The Pre-Natal and Pre-Conception Diagnostic techniques Act should be implemented effectively.
- The Dowry Prohibition Act also should be implemented strictly and effectively. This old custom of dowry must be condoned.
- Free and compulsory education for the female child.
- The foremost need is a change in the mind set of the society to¬wards girl.
- Government, civil society and media should work hand in hand to combat the challenging task.
- The psycho educative programmes are of importance to bring the change in the attitudes of people having “son mania”. The society as a whole should ensure that the girl is safe, secure, educated, economically and emotionally independent, so that the two strings of violin of society men and women produce harmonious music.
- Ensuring strong political commitments in promoting Zero tolerance towards gender biased sex selection.
- Monitoring and evaluating interventions so that success or failure can be clearly demonstrated and learned from.
- The unwanted status of girl’s child can go if we are able to create a new society with new value system, new ethics, new family structure, new morals and new customs which are equalitarian and eqalitatarian in nature. It is an uphill task but certainly not an impossible one because all the factors alerting the girl killing are socially generated and solution can certainly be worked out in the interest of our society and mankind.
- Awareness programmes should be organised like “Beti Bacho Beti Padho” to promote declining sex ratio.
- We should celebrate the birth of daughters and birthdays with great pomp and show.
- Parents of girl child should be given more respect and honour in the society.
- Income Tax rebates can be given to parents of daughters.
Haryana has created an example and footprint for other states to follow, that given greater political will things can be changed in reasonable time. Haryana still has to go a long way to reach a sound overall sex ratio and seems to be in the perfect momentum to achieve it. The war against female foeticide, infanticide and girl child discrimination can be won only if we start this war from our own home. Once we are awake, girls are safe.Although, the improvement is the positive but the target is yet to achieve. If the strategies followed go on for long run then the situation of imbalance in sex ratio will not only improve at state level but also at national level.The time has come when women are no longer considered a weaker sex. People have to come out of their rigid mindset in order to achieve a greater cause. Educating girls and encouraging them to be at par with boys will help to achieve this goal.