A report in a section of media on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and the subsequent effort of Congress effort to latch on to those reports apparently indicate a negative and misleading narrative. Based on a Lok Sabha reply, The Quint published an article titled Truth Of ‘BetiBachaoBetiPadhao’: 56% Funds Spent On Publicity. Citing this reply dated January 4, 2019, the piece argues that since the larger part of the amount is shown under the ‘media activities’ heading, publicity has been the key motive behind the whole scheme. A similar report is published in Scroll as well. Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his party took no time in lapping up this report.
The Misleading ‘Media Activity’ Element and Facts
As we can see from the above instances, the narrative suggests that the funds meant for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) have been used for the Modi Government’s publicity. This is blatantly erroneous on the following counts:
- The so-called publicity or the media activity surrounding the BBBP programme is anyways very favourable for the programme given that it is about bringing awareness about saving girl children and educating them.
- Then enabling girls’ education, effective enforcement of the Pre-Conception & Pre Natal-Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act, and preventing gender-based sex selection and elimination are the stated goals of BBBP. For all this, the bigger the media coverage, the better the intended outcomes.
- As the Ministry of Women and Child Development itself has explained here, “the main goal of the scheme is to create massive national mass awareness and sensitization on the gravity of the unabated declining number of girls through a nation-wide 360-degree media campaign outreach.”
- Even within the BBBP’s media activity, the District Magistrates/collectors are actively involved. Therefore contending that districts are getting lesser amount per se than media activities is a flawed analysis. Here, media activity doesn’t mean publicity of Modi government but that the district units get to conduct their own mass awareness campaigns.
BBBP: Before & After
The above instances conclusively bust the misleading interpretation of media activity and publicity. It has been made amply clear that ‘publicity’ is about sensitizing people to the laws against gender discrimination and the expanding avenues of educating the girl child. The ‘publicity’ and ‘media activity’ is not about PM Modi’s image as Rahul Gandhi wants you to believe.
The impact and the outcome achieved by BBBP speaks of its success.
- Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) which was 918 in 2014-15 has improvedto 926 in 2016-17. Major credit for this certainly goes to BBBP, which is bringing behavioural change among the people through ‘media activity’.
- Haryana has logged the highest ever sex ratio of 914 girls against 1,000 boys in 2017. The sex ratio at birth was 832 in 2012 and 871 in 2014. The significance of the Prime Minister’s launching of BBBP in 2015 from Haryana’s Panipat cannot be missed.
- As the Lok Sabha reply on the basis of which the above-mentioned media reports are done itself states, “an improving trend in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) is visible in 104 districts, 119 districts have reported progress in first trimester registration against the reported Anti Natal Care registrations and 146 districts have reported improvement in institutional deliveries.”
To know more about the impact of BBBP one can read our article The Expansion of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao.
Instead of misleading people by wrongly interpreting the terms ‘publicity’ and ‘media activity’, Rahul Gandhi should answer as to why under the Congress rule Child Sex Ratio had declined from 927 in 2001 to an abysmal 918 in 2011.
Now, as things rapidly improve under the Modi government, Rahul Gandhi and Congress are indulging in a motivated and misleading campaign.