Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Govt of India "ignores" Gujarat in best practices book on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme, launched by Modi

Modi launching Beti Bachao Beti Padhao in January 2015
By Our Representative
The Government of India, at least its Ministry of Women and Child Development, does not seem to think that there is anything to celebrate about implementation of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme in Gujarat, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the historic battleground of Panipat in Haryana on January 22, 2015.
A propaganda book released by the Ministry, titled “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: Journey So Far – Celebrating the Girl Child & Enabling her Education”, enumerates “initiatives across BBBP districts which have been effective in involving communities and helping change mindsets in favour of women and girls”, to quote minister Maneka Gandhi.
In the list of 100 districts for the BBBP scheme, initially identified as “gender critical” because of low child ratio, Gujarat had five – Surat, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Rajkot. Later, 61 other districts were added in the BBBP scheme. In this list Gujarat's four other districts were included – Anand, Amreli, Patan and Bhavnagar.
The BBBP districts were chosen, to quote from the book, because either the child sex ratio was below the national average, 918 girls against 1000 boys, or because they showed a declining trend. None of the nine Gujarat districts chosen, however, had the sex ratio above 891 (Bhavnagar).
BBBP Gujarat districts:  Sex ratio
In all, as many as 20 states have been chosen in order to showcase how their districts' “interventions have been locally designed and are innovative examples of BBBP being implemented in the context of local realities”, says Gandhi, adding, they will provide an “opportunity for cross learning among districts as well as serve inspiration … to work towards the goals of BBBP.”
Gujarat, interestingly, does not find mention in the list of 20 states where “innovative interventions” under BBBP have taken place, despite the fact that nearly one-third (nine) of its districts fall under the BBBP scheme. The BBBP districts of all three neighbouring states, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, find their place in the list of best practices/interventions.
The book says in its introduction, the innovative local initiatives presented in the compendium reflect the efforts of “district and state administration to challenge stereotypes and the culture of discrimination against women and girls across the country”.
Districts chosen by ministry
It underlines, “Advocacy activities include celebrating the birth of girl children, workshops on gender issues, transformation of traditional son-centric customs to make them gender neutral, encouraging educational and other extracurricular achievements of girls, recognition of local champions, and so on.”
A matrix, based on which the best practices appear to have been compiled, are interventions at three levels – village, block/panchayat and district. While no marks have been given to compare interventions, in all 14 different “actionable points” at each of the three levels have been taken into account for “coordinated actions”. It is not known why not one good practice could be found in any of the nine Gujarat districts forming part of BBBP.
It is also not known whether the omission of Gujarat was because of the failure of the state government's women and child department – at a time when the state has the first women chief minister, Anandiben Patel – to submit any of the best practices to the Union ministry of women and child.
The introduction says, as a postscript, that the “best practices and innovations” have been compiled on the basis of the “information received from these the states/ union territories”.

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