A Futile Ten Years of the Save the Girl Child Programme

The latest Indian Census data for 2011 shows that the female to male sex ratio has once again gone down over the last decade in the same way as it had done in the two earlier censuses in 1991 and 2001. Most people in society do not believe that there is any shortage of females. They are not aware of the census data. They follow their own volitions till they don’t face any problem. They don’t think about the larger problem of a lowered sex ratio. They are practical people who are more concerned with having more male children because that is a better option in a patriarchal society. But the government cannot leave this matter to deteriorate. There are differences between the lower and upper classes in their life style . Middle and upper classes are literate and have knowledge about all things but even then they are in the forefront of doing pre-natal diagnostic tests to determine the sex of the foetus and then aborting it if it is a girl and thus reducing the sex ratio . Why ? because they follow their societies’ custom that males will not only continue the lineage of the family but also look after the old. There is the same thinking in the lower working classes also. However, the lower classes cannot afford to pay for the sex determination tests and the abortions and so they give birth to more babies so as to have male progeny. Thus patriarchy is all pervasive and while it leads to female foeticide in upper classes it results in more children in the lower classes. Saving the Girl Child is a part of the health care programme of the health department and there is also a Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prevention and Regulation) Act. However, since nothing is being done to counter the deeprooted patriarchy in Indian society all these have failed. The Census report had shown that the child sex ratio (0 – 6 years) was 932 girls for 1000 boys in 2001 in Madhya Pradesh and the Census data have reported that the child sex ratio has worsenedd in 2011 to 912 girls per 1000 boys . It is clear that the government has failed in its efforts to implement the Save the Girl Child Programme. Since the wound is inside, applying an ointment outside has meant that the patriarchal mind set has remained intact and led to a decreasing female sex ratio . Now the time has come to realise this and hammer the patriarchal social trends in which males have to be involved to improve the status of women. This is because males are at the power center in society . The Government calls for opinions from activists , NGOs and women’s groups while making plans but when it goes to implement it still functions with a patriarchal mind set . The media too publishes only the pressnotes distributed by the government instead of the constant criticism being levelled by feminists of the government’s patriarchal programmes. The officials at the higher levels of government do not listen to the feedback coming from the lower levels otherwise corrective action would have been taken much earlier instead of waiting for ten years.

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