WCD plans to act upon improving child sex ratio

Massive social mobilisation campaign similar on the lines of polio eradication campaign, community level celebrations on the birth of the girl child, awards on the lines of Nirmal gram puruskar for those where the child sex ratio improves are some of the initiatives outlined in the newly drafted National Plan of action for improving the child-sex ratio (Ananyashakti-care and protection of the girl child) by the ministry of women and child development (WCD).
With an aim to improve sex ratio at birth from 905 to 921 by 2017, the multi-sectoral actions for improving the child sex ratio will be initiated in 100 gender critical districts to start with. With the problem of low child sex ratio crippling the urban areas too, selected urban areas have also been included in the first phase to develop urban demonstration models.
Headed by the Prime Minister, the National Mission Authority will comprise of ministers from the key ministries and two chief ministers would be the highest body for providing policy direction for effective implementation of the plan. “In these districts and cities there will be an intensive process of decentralised village/ward level planning, community mobilisation, capacity development, peer support and counselling to change societal norms and community based monitoring by panchayatsat village level. Similarly, in cities there will be strong process of planning at ward level,” reads the document.
The plan has come into being with as many as 27 states and Union Territories registering a fall in the child sex ratio in the last decade. Sharp decline in the range of 22-82 points have been reported in child sex ratios in many states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Sikkim. The decline in the ratio has been the highest in Lakshadweep (-51 points), followed by Orissa (-19), Andhra Pradesh (-18) and Kerala (-1). The `100 crore scheme will have an effective monitoring system to track the progress on monitorable targets, outcomes and process indicators. Through concrete steps, the document proposes to reduce gender differentials in under five child mortality rate from 8 points in 2011 to 4 points by 2017. To improve the situation, it has also been proposed to include gender equality and child sex ratio related concerns in education curricula at different levels.
The comprehensive action plan being proposed by women and child development ministry will have support of health, human resource development, drinking water and sanitation ministries and will address many issues.

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