Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao

In India, parents have from time immemorial preferred having a boy over a girl child. This practice is a result of a patriarchal society which considers a male to be economically advantaged and women being considered as a mere “burden”. This male child preference has led to an ever increasing practice of aborting female foetus which has become extremely easy with the technological advancements. Even though such sex determination tests have been banned but people have still managed to get such tests done for sex selective abortion. In most of the regions even if a girl child is provided with the “luxury” to be born, she is generally denied opportunities to get an education to have an identity in this male dominated world. They are almost always supressed at every point in life.

The 2011 census depicted that the CSR of India has declined to 917 per 1000 males, which required immediate attention. To fight this grave social problem, Modi Government in January 2015 launched “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” scheme to educate the public about the need to save and educate the girl child.  The main objectives is this scheme include “preventing gender biased sex selective elimination, ensuring survival and protection of the girl child and education of the girl child.”[1]

The Government started the scheme with any initial fund of Rs. 100 crores but a lot of experts who have been continuously working in this area such as Sabu George have suggested that monetary support though gives a push to the programme but strict penal action against the people indulging in activities such as pre-natal sex determination and abortion is the key to bring about an actual change. [2]

The falling CSR, main reason behind this campaign is a result of the so called need of a family to have a male child who would continue the family line, inherit the family wealth and provide safety to the family. Whereas female child is considered as a burden because parents think she is going to be an economic bane rather than a boom. According to me, the main reason behind this ideology is the “dowry system”. This system turn marriages into not just business transactions but also denies women the respect they deserve. Even if a girl child is born, parents hardly prefer investing in the child’s education because their only concern is marrying her off. The dowry system increase the economic pressure on the parents because of which saving money for the dowry is considered a more viable option by a huge number of people rather than educating the girl child. [3]

The practice of son preference has not just heavily disturbed the sex ratio but has also given rise to a lot of crime against women such as trafficking, rape, abduction. The most alarming rate of trafficking is witnessed in the northern state of Haryana which suffers the worst sex ratio resulting in trafficking of child brides from Bihar, Assam and West Bengal to meet the rising demand. [4]

Low CSR has also resulted in a rise in trafficking of young girls for the purposes of prostitution and servant maids. The scarcity of young girls has turned trafficking into an extremely profitable business opportunity.[5]

Female foeticide and infanticide are amongst the worst problems this country currently faces. There are around 3 million “missing” girls between the age group of 0-6 as per the 2011 census. It is generally expected that such an inhumane practice would be more prevalent amongst the poor and illiterate section of the society. What is shocking is that the 2011 Census showed that it’s the rich and prosperous which are more deeply indulged in this act. Ancient practices such as Fraternal Polyandry i.e. wife sharing among brothers and leviratic marriage i.e. marriage of widow to her husband’s brother too are rising because of the falling CSR. [6]

Private sphere was generally considered safer for women, but this notion doesn’t stand true anymore. The private sphere is as dangerous as the public sphere. Protection of the people of the nation is the need of the hour, women being the worst hit require extra incentives is order to help them grow and flourish. “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” Scheme provides with the framework for this goal to the achieved. [7]

The need for awareness and sensitivity at the home level as well as school level is required for the people to realise the worth of women in the society. The government in order to promote women education has provided girls and their families with a lot of incentives to erase the thinking of girl child being a burden. The society needs to realise that it is education and not marriage which requires monetary investment. If every girl child is educated and provided with an opportunity to independently stand in the society then only the ideology of women being a burden or “paraya dhan” can be done away with. A woman possess the same qualities as any other man to provide protection to her family. For the development of any nation, the first requirement is the safety and development of the people of that nation. Till the time women are looked at as passive citizens and not within a chance to grow to fit into the society and real growth cannot be attained.

By: Kriti Gupta, Jindal Global Law School

References

[1] Let’s commit to the cause of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, http://wcd.nic.in/BBBPScheme/main.html (last visited on July 19 2016)

[2] Manoj Vats, Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme – To ensure the rights of the girl child, Maps of India, http://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/society/beti-bachao-beti-padhao-scheme-to-ensure-the-rights-of-the-girl-children, ( January 25, 2015)

[3] Therese Hesketh  and Zhu Wei Xing (Edited by Jeremy Nathan), Abnormal sex ratios in human population: causes and consequences, Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, http://www.pnas.org/content/103/36/13271.long ( March 20, 2006)

[4] Xenia Anna Glasar, Does Son preference affect rape and illegal trafficking of women in India? Popular Social Science.http://www.popularsocialscience.com/2013/05/08/mother-india-no-state-for-women-son-preference-and-gender-based-crimes-in-india/ ( May 8th , 2013)

[5] Id

[6] M. Alston, Women, Political Struggles and Gender equality in South Asia, Springer, 2014.

[7] Id

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