Cabinet nods on expansion of BBBP across the country

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for expansion of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) for a Pan India reach covering all the 640 districts as per census 2011 of the Country to have a deeper positive impact on child sex ratio (CSR).

The nod was given based on the successful implementation in 161 districts of the country so far.

The Cabinet has approved the expansion with a proposed outlay of Rs. 1132.5 Crore from 2017-18 to 2019-20, to be funded 100% by the Central Government.

“The expansion would include Multi sectoral intervention in 244 districts in addition to existing 161 districts. 235 districts are to be covered through Alert District Media, Advocacy and Outreach, thus covering all the 640 districts of the Country,” a statement issued by women and child ministry on Wednesday said.

The BBBP scheme was launched by the PM Modi on 22 January 2015 at Panipat, Haryana as a comprehensive programme to address the declining CSR and related issues of empowerment of women over a life-cycle continuum.

The CSR, defined as number of girls per 1000 boys in the age group of 0-6 years, declined sharply from 976 in 1961 to 918 in Census 2011.

“However there was no systematic response or comprehensive advocacy strategy to arrest and curb this disturbing trend. The Government recognized the challenge of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR), as a telling indicator of gender discrimination towards girl child, requiring immediate attention and action and launched BBBP scheme in 2015,” the WCD ministry statement adds.

Currently, the BBBP scheme is being implemented as a tri-ministerial, convergent effort of Ministries of WCD, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development with focus on awareness and advocacy campaign, multi-sectoral action in select 161 districts, enabling girls’ education and effective enforcement of Pre-Conception & Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act.

The specific objectives of the scheme include preventing gender-biased sex-selective elimination; ensuring survival and protection of the girl child and ensuring education and participation of the girl child.

At the Central level, WCD ministry is the nodal ministry for the programme, while at the State level, Chief Secretaries heads the State Task Force (STF) with the representation of WCD Department, Health and Education to monitor the implementation of the scheme.

The district collectors/deputy commissioners lead and coordinate action of all departments for implementation of BBBP at the district level.

The WCD ministry said that the programme, which will be completing 3 years shortly, has been well-received and favourable trends are visible in many of the districts.

The latest reports as per HMIS data of Union health ministry for 161 BBBP districts indicate that for the time period between April-March 2015-16 & 2016-17, an improving trend in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) is visible in 104 districts, 119 districts have reported progress in first trimester registration against the reported Anti Natal Care registrations and 146 districts have reported improvement in institutional deliveries, it noted.

“Looking at the encouraging results of implementation in 161 districts and magnitude/criticality of the problem and its spread across the country, it has been realized that no district can be left out of BBBP ambit if a real dent is to be made on overall CSR,” the ministry continued.

Shyamal Bikash Chakma

Shyamal Bikash Chakma is Public Editor of The aPolitical and a PhD candidate in Development Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and recipient of the Felix Scholarship 2017.
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