NEW DELHI: Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, announced a reward of Rs. 1 crore to the district which will show a marked improvement in the overall sex ratio.

In an address, given during The National Thematic Workshop On Women and Child Development organised by Haryana Women and Child Development Department as a prelude to the kickstart of the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” Programme by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Panipat, Haryana on 22nd of January, she emphasised the need for making amends to the skewed sex ratio in many districts of the country. she also added that the incidences of female foeticide are more prevalent in middle and upper-middle class section of the society.

She said that female foeticide is an evil and must be defeated. “We need to change the mindset. Today is just the beginning, we must see visible difference in next two years”, said the Union Minister.

The Centre has chosen 100 Districts where the scheme will be implemented, 12 of them are in Haryana-- Mahendragarh, Jhajjar, Sonipat, Rohtak, Rewari, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Yamunanagar, Kaithal, Bhiwani, and Panipat. Among which Sonipat, Jhajjar, and Rewari are the worst.

According to the brief issued by the her office last month, it was suggested that the District Collectors take an active part in the implementation of the scheme and seek support of the opinion leaders of the community as well, to create awareness about the need to save girl child. It asked, “the DCs to create awareness of the problems through yatras, holding meetings with Sarpanchs, religious leaders and identify champions who could propagate the message amongst the communities”. And urged them to,”celebrate birth of the girl child and maintain gudda guddi cards (recording sex at birth) and display this information in all panchayat ghars, hospitals and Government offices”.

The Minister pointed out that it was PM Modi who insisted on making Haryana as the base to kick off the program as it is one of the states with the lowest number of women per 1000 males. According to last Census Haryana has 918 women per 1000 men, which is much below the national average of 940 per same number of men.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat, according to 2011 census, has 919 women per 1000 men, more or less same as Haryana, and shows a slight declension from 2001 census, when it was 921 per 1000 men.

The Minister expressed concern about the insensitive way girl child are killed."Not just in the mother's womb, some girls are not given proper food and they die before reaching the age of two. If 46% of children suffer from malnutrition, this percentage among girls is 70," she said.

Accompanying her was Gujarat Chief Minister, Anandiben Patel, who cited the example of successful tackling of the issue of female literacy in her state, when it grew from 59% in 2011 to 74% in 2011, due to implementation of various schemes designed for the purpose by then CM Narendra Modi. Quite an erroneous claim, as according to census report of 2001 and 2011, the stats for the state of Gujarat are 60.40 % and 63.31 %, respectively.

“Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” is one of the flagship social schemes of the current government, apart from “Jan Dhan Yojana”.