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Jhunjhunu goes from worst sex ratio to the best in Rajasthan

Author: Ambika Pandit, TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: March 4, 2018
URL:    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/jhunjhunu-goes-from-worst-sex-ratio-to-the-best-in-rajasthan/articleshow/63152677.cms

The 2011 census brought Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan the ignominy of being the district with the lowest sex ratio of 837 girls per 1,000 boys among 33 districts of the state. Seven years on, the district is being hailed as a model with the sex ratio at birth (SRB) touching an impressive 955 girls per 1,000 boys.

It is from here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the pan-India expansion of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) programme to cover all 640 districts on Women’s Day on March 8. He will also launch the National Nutrition Mission from here.

The choice of state for the launch is significant in view of the assembly polls slated later this year in Rajasthan. Once seen as the worst district on account of its poor sex ratio, Jhunjhunu’s administration attributes the change to a focussed crackdown on ultrasound centres carrying out prenatal sex determination and grassroots interventions at the community level to steer change in mindsets.

Going by the data SRB has been a key focus area for the last few years in particular for Jhunjhunu. In 2014, for the period January to December SRB was 880 girls per 1,000 boys. This rose to 901:1000 in 2015. Incidentally, BBBP was launched in 2015 which further reinforced the district’s efforts that had taken off under project Shakti in 2014.

SRB further rose to 933 in 2016 and in December 2017 the SRB was recorded at 955:1,000. Jhunjhunu’s performance has won may accolades from the ministry of women and child development over the last two years. It was among the ten districts that were awarded on the National Girl Child Day 2016 by the ministry for outstanding performance in implementing BBBP.

It was also awarded with Nari Shakti Puruskar last year for effective community engagement. Some of the grassroots efforts under BBBP here include weekly jan sunwai (public hearing) on Tuesday where officers come together at night and discuss the issue of child sex ratio. This issue is also mandatory on Gram Panchayat meetings agenda. On Fridays, even women groups come together to discuss this.

Special focus has been put on 20 villages that have registered lowest child sex ratio and volunteers have been asked to prepare a “grievance redressal register” in this regard. An important initiative has been around celebrating the birth of girl child. In a largely patriarchal social setup around 1247 mothers and girl child have been facilitated by the district administration.

In a move to encourage girls, the district in 2016 chose two high performing girl students from financially weak backgrounds and made them the collector of the district for a day as a symbolic gesture. “These activities are a big source of motivation,” he said. Girl students are also taken on visits to government offices as part of their educational trip to understand the various schemes/programmes of the Centre nd state government.

The BBBP scheme was launched by the PM in January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana to address the declining child sex ratio. Last year in November, the BJP led NDA government decided to expand BBBP from 161 districts to cover all 640 districts of the country.
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