In the ambitious ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) programme, the part which works for ‘saving the girl child’ is evidently yielding the results. In a Lok Sabha reply concerning the scheme, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has provided a new set of data that backs this assertion.
The key takeaway from the data is that the all-India sex ratio at birth (SRB) has risen from 923 girls per 1,000 boys to 931 girls per 1,000 boys in the four years between 2015-16 and 2018-19.
Perhaps, the behavioural change that the scheme has been able to bring around all these years is reflected in the data.
The below graphs tell you the story of India’s performance in SRB after BBBP.
Haryana- The Case in Point
To understand the impact of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, perhaps there is no better illustration than the state of Haryana. Haryana has had the worst record in CSR for a long time. In this context, the significance of the Prime Minister’s launching of BBBP in 2015 from Haryana’s Panipat cannot be missed.
As it turns out, the positive results of BBBP also reflected in the data from the same state. From 887 girls per 1000 boys in 2015-16 to 914 girls per 1000 boys in 2018-19, remarkable progress has been achieved. As shown in the graph, the gains from the states like Nagaland and Uttarakhand have also made significant progress.
Apart from giving the picture of India’s accomplishment in the Sex Ratio at Birth, the data set also offers some insights for the road ahead. It is time for states like Punjab which have underperformed to reflect upon the data and improve like many other states. Also, the trend suggests that some states and UTs have actually fallen from their good SRB to bad numbers.
For example, Sikkim’s number has been reduced from a very impressive 998 from 2015-16 to 948 in 2018-19. In the instance of Tamil Nadu, the number it had in 2015-16 was 935 and it had seen an improvement in 2017-18 when it reached 947 but the year 2018-19 has reported 936 girls per 1000 boys.
All such data points may prove valuable for the further study of SRB and adopt the action plan accordingly.
However, it is clear that the SRB in India is improving. BBBP had initially begun in 161 districts in 2015, later expanded to all 640 districts riding on the success of that initial phase. Now, the results are there to see with some highly gender-sensitive areas making good improvement.
It is to be remembered that some time back Congress President Rahul Gandhi and a section of media had run down this the scheme as a mere publicity stunt. They had, perhaps even deliberately, misinterpreted the ‘media activity’ part of BBBP, ignoring the fact that the awareness activities through various media platforms play a key role in the success of this program. We have earlier busted such arguments in our article Rahul Gandhi Wants You to Believe That Beti Bachao is About PM Modi’s Publicity, Here is How He is Misleading.