at an all time low of 918. The sharp decline pointed out by this data called for urgent action to save the girl child. Towards this end, the government announced Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme to address the issue of decline in CSR through a mass campaign across the country and focussed intervention and multi-sectoral action in 100 gender critical districts. 100 districts have been identified on the basis of low child sex ratio as per Census 2011 covering all states/UTs as a pilot project with at least one district in each state. The three criteria for selection of districts are a) districts below the national average(87 districts in 23 states); b) districts above national average but showing declining trend(8 districts in 8 states) and c) districts above national average and showing increasing trend(5 districts in 5 states) so selected, so that these CSR levels can be maintained and other districts can emulate and learn from their experiences.
A budgetary allocation of Rs 100 cr has been made under the budget announcement for the campaign and Rs 100 cr is to be mobilised from Plan outlay of the planned scheme 'Care and protection of girl child - a multi-sectoral action plan' for the 12th plan. Additional resources could be mobilised through corporate social responsibility at national and state levels. The estimated cost of the scheme is Rs 200 cr, out of which Rs 115 cr is proposed to be released during the current year i.e. 2014-15 (for six months); Rs 45 cr and Rs 40 cr will be released during 2015-16 and 2016-2017 respectively.
- The overall goal of the scheme is to celebrate the girl child and enable her education. The objectives are to prevent gender biased sex selective elimination and ensure survival, protection and education of the girl child.
- Eight monitorable targets for this programme have been identified, namely, improving the SRB in 100 gender critical districts by 10 points in a year;
- Reducing gender differentials in under-five child mortality rate from 8 points in 2011 to 4 points in 2017;
- Improving the nutrition status of girls by reducing number of underweight and anaemic girls under 5 years of age (from NFHS 3 levels);
- Ensuring universalisation of ICDS, girls' attendance and equal care monitored using joint ICDS-NRHM Mother Child Protection Cards;
- Increasing girls' enrollment in secondary education from 76 per cent in 2013-14 to 79 per cent by 2017;
- Provision of girls' toilets in every school in 100 CSR districts by 2017;
- Promoting a protective environment for Girl children through implementation of Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act 2012 and;
- Training elected representatives/grassroots functionaries as community champions to mobilise the communities to improve CSR and promote girls' education. The strategies worked out to achieve these targets included-
- Implementation of a sustained social mobilisation and communication campaign to create equal value for the girl child and promote her education;
- Placing of the issue of decline in CSR/SRB in public discourse as part of good governance;
- Focussing on gender critical districts and cities low on CSR for intensive and integrated action;
- Mobilising and training panchayati raj institutions/urban local bodies/grassroots workers as catalysts for social change, in partnership with local community/women's/youth groups;
- Ensuring that service delivery structures/schemes and programmes are sufficiently responsive to issues of gender and children's rights and lastly;
- Enabling inter-sectoral and inter-institutional convergence at district/block/grassroots levels.
The two major components to achieve the targets of the programme are mass communication campaign on the programme through interlinked national, state and district level interventions with community level action in 100 districts, bringing together different stakeholders for accelerated impact. Multi-sectoral action, drawn up in consultation with MoHFW & MoHRD, would include measurable outcomes and indicators through concerned sectors, states and districts. The states/UTs would adapt a flexible framework for multisectoral action through the state task forces for developing, implementing and monitoring state/district plans of action to achieve their respective specific monitorable targets.
One of the prongs for the success of this programme was advocacy, community mobilisation and
awareness generation. The scheme proposal suggests that community mobilisation could be done through interactive initiatives like Nari ki Chaupal, Beti Janmahotsav, Mann ki Baat etc. A dedicated day could be scheduled every month for celebration of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. National Girl Child day could be celebrated on 24th January every year by all stakeholders including local opinion makers, PRI members, MLAs, MPs etc at district levels led by the district administration of the 100 gender critical districts. International Women's Day could be celebrated to send out a strong message highlighting the importance of gender equality and need of empowering women and girls. Further, celebration of this Day can be used to highlight the contribution of empowered mothers for the BBBP scheme. A pledge for protection, safety, value and education of the girl child may be adopted by the government of India and it may be taken on the occasion of National Girl Child Day.