Schemes to Save the Girl Child

The Government recognizes that the problem of declining child sex ratio in India is not an isolated phenomenon but must be seen in the context of the low status of women and the girl child as a whole, within the home and outside. While its immediate reasons can be traced to increasing son-preference as well as advances in technology that has encouraged sex selective abortions, concern of safety and security of the girl child along with the practice of dowry are no less responsible for it.


Accordingly, the Government has undertaken a number of measures to improve survival and status of girl children in the country. While programmes for improvement of nutrition benefit all children including girl children, like the Integrated Child Development Scheme, National Rural Health Mission, Mid-day meal scheme etc., specific interventions for girl children include implementing the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, pilot cash transfer scheme of ‘Dhanlakshmi’, setting up a Sectoral  Innovation Council for improving child sex ratio and acting upon its recommendations, and the pilot scheme ‘Sabla’ for a comprehensive Intervention for adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18, with a focus on out of school girls in select 200 districts of the country.


Of these, ‘Dhanlakshmi’ provides conditional cash incentive, and the scheme does not discriminate on the basis of caste and economic status of parents. It is a pilot scheme being implemented in 11 blocks in seven States of the country.


The amount sanctioned, utilised and number of beneficiaries under ‘Dhanlakshmi’ are as below:


Year Grant Released (in Rupees) Grant utilized (in Rupees)  Beneficiaries
2008-09 5,95,16,343 5,79,00,698 79,555
2009-10 5,00,00,000 4,59,60,720 42,077
2010-11 1,83,01,816 1,54,50,575 16,739


This was stated by Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development in a written reply to the RajyaSabha

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  1. Why is our girl children in India thought to be unwanted? It is only now, during the past a few millenniums, that human society declared a short respite from matriarchy which it would soon end and return to its former status of matriarchy. When matriarchs ruled, the man had to pay the woman money in the form of goats, sheep, cattle and agricultural implements for marrying her. When matriarchy ended and patriarchy evolved, the woman began to have to pay man her dowry. In the present Indian conditions of poverty, an ordinary citizen cannot find enough money to send his daughter away in marriage. Executive, legislature and judiciary of this country failed to empower the common man to marry away his girl child. Huge dowry and tons of gold ornaments are essential for a girl for getting married. Members of the above mentioned three constitutional branches of administration each day take part in marriages in which huge dowries are paid and kilos of gold are exchanged. Since the time of India’s independence, not one of them has ever reported to authorities that in such and such marriages they attended, dowries were paid and gold was exchanged. Some district administrations in India recently came up with new software for tracking and monitoring scan centres which do pre-birth foetus inspection. Monitoring and software are needed, not for detecting pre-birth detection of girl children but for detecting where dowries are paid and gold is transferred in connection with marriages. Let district collectors report such marriages in their districts as a beginning, if they do have a back bone supporting their craniums, instead of going after clinics which it is the duty of the doctors to do. Do not forget, they already have the investigation machinery and authority to do so. How many district collectors in India have ever done this? To bark is easy, to bite is dangerous. Many Indian states do consider their girls as precious jewels. Otherwise how will there be this much girls in this country? A few greedy rich alone detect and kill them in advance so that their sons will bring in dowry and gold. The present uproar is entirely caused by a few memsahibs who have no mentionable jobs except fattening their dogs. Anyone can see the fact that every young man needs a girl to marry. If all the girls are killed in the foetus stage, whom will they marry? The fear and uproar over this imaginary situation is groundless. Remove dowry and gold ornaments from marriage, and you will solve the problem of girl children. If they still think that increasing population of the country is a problem, leave their dogs and ask government in their bedroom to introduce special incentives to unmarried citizens and to give them promotions if they are in government service, as a temptation. Let them develop some kind of software to detect the amassed dowry and gold in rich houses.

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