National Girl Child Day, observed on January 24, to raise the consciousness of the society towards girl child and the need to respect her

January 24 is a special day, at least for the 614.4 million population of India — the female population. It is National Girl Child Day which India has been observing since 2008. The message behind this is – protect the girl child. It is the duty of the Union Government to raise the consciousness of the society towards girl children and the need to respect her. The various departments under the Union government such as the Women Development and Social Welfare and the Child development have been doing their best not only to create a friendly environment for the girl child but also to ‘save’ the girl child. There are reports which claim that more than 5,00,000 girls are killed in India every year even before they are born. A majority of India’s population lives in the villages and it is there that such practices are prevalent among the weaker sections, because of the belief that fostering a girl child is expensive. But latest studies have found that it is prevalent in Indian towns and cities as well. If all girls born in India become empowered citizens with equal rights, then the purpose of celebrating this day is achieved. Every year the Ministry of Women and Child development conducts various events aimed at creating awareness towards improving child sex ratio in the country and to ensure that every girl child is given a chance to outshine.

Various organisations also contribute towards increasing the awareness level. For example, in northern Karnataka, India Post had this year launched a special drive to open a new savings account in the name of the girl child on January 24. The day also highlights the importance of educating girl child, giving her the right nutrition and treating her on par with the opposite sex.

Various Acts have been passed by the Government like the Domestic Violence Act 2009, prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 and Dowry Prohibition Act 2006 for the benefit of the female population. Efforts are on to convey the essence of these acts to girls, especially those from the economically weaker sections of the society. A scheme called Dhanalaksmi, which involves direct cash transfer to benefit the girl child, has also been in practice.

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