NEW DELHI :
For long having held the dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates of female foeticide in the country, Haryana has seen a 52-point increase in sex ratio at birth over the last five years. According to the latest figures available, the sex ratio in the state has increased to 923 girls for every 1000 boys in 2019 from 871 girls in 2014. Interestingly, the increase is higher than the target set by the Centre under the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme.
According to the data, of the total 5, 18,725 births registered in the state during 2019, female births totalled 2,48,950 while 2,69,775 babies born were male. “Majority of districts that had a low sex ratio of below 900 for decades, are now placed better with the sex ratio of 920 and more. Two districts namely Panchkula and Ambala has attained the distinction of being 950+ (963,959 respectively), an ideal sex ratio at birth as per public health experts," Rakesh Gupta, nodal officer ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ program, said.
The improvement in sex ratio has been attributed to the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme, a campaign that aims to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services intended for girls in India. The scheme was launched on 22 January, 2015, by prime minister Narendra Modi with an initial funding of ₹100 crore. It mainly targets clusters in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Bihar and Delhi.
“Around 25,000 girls were saved from being killed during last 5 years through ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme campaign launched against female foeticide. This improvement in the sex ratio at birth is not limited only to certain districts, as the ratio has been increased overall throughout the State," he said.
The government report has highlighted that Mahendragarh district in Haryana, which for a decade was known to have the lowest sex ratio has also done wonders. The district saw a 172-point improvement in sex ratio to reach 917 in 2019. In 2014, the sex ratio of the district was as low as 745.
“Strict action against the female foeticide along with the several awareness programs was launched in all the districts. Apart from this, tightening the noose around the illegal sex detection/sex selection centres as well as illegal abortion centres running in Haryana and the neighboring states, sting operations, and surprise inspections were conducted and such illegal centers were sealed after registering the FIRs against such offenders under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act," said Gupta.
According to the government statement, over the last five years more than 730 FIRs were registered, including 185 FIRs in neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttrakhand and around 2000 culprits were arrested in the crackdown against female foeticide. More than 200 prosecution cases under PC-PNDT Act are under trial in various courts against the offenders.
“The State Government also implemented ‘informer incentive scheme’ providing a reward of ₹1 lakh to the informer providing information about the sex determination in any part of State, which helped in exposing the gangs of criminals involved in this crime," Gupta added.