NATIONAL

Rs. 1-crore award for villages attaining balanced sex ratio

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi announced a Rs. 1-crore award on Tuesday for any innovative village attaining a balanced sex ratio.

At the inaugural session of a national thematic workshop on woman and child development in Panipat, Ms. Gandhi urged the State governments and the district commissioners and other officials to work together for the success of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Save daughter, educate daughter) programme to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in that city on Thursday.

Ms. Gandhi said the Prime Minister chose Haryana to launch the campaign as it was one of the States with a low female sex ratio. One hundred districts with a low female sex ratio were selected nationwide for the campaign, and 12 of them, including Panipat, were in Haryana.

She said the campaign would aim to change the mindset of the people towards the girl child, calling for innovative solutions to ending violence and crime against women and the dowry system, the root cause of female foeticide. “The notion of Paraya Dhan must be discouraged to ensure that parents do not hesitate to have a girl child,” she said.The Minister said 70 per cent of the children affected by malnutrition in the country were girls.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said his government would set up special funds at the district level for preparing schemes and programmes for the welfare of the girl child, from childhood to education. Expressing concern at the gender imbalance, he said: “The low sex ratio in the State is a cause for concern and a challenge, but the visit of the Prime Minister will inspire us to further improve the sex ratio.”