Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, once infamous for being the district with the lowest sex ratio, is now being hailed as a model. The sex ratio at birth (SRB) has touched an impressive 955 girls per 1,000 boys.

In 2011,  Jhunjhunu had the lowest sex ratio of 837 girls per 1,000 boys among 33 districts of Rajasthan. Seven years on, the district has shown remarkable improvement.

Modi’s initiative

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

Steps taken to improve the sex-ratio

Jhunjhunu’s administration attributes the change to a focused crackdown on ultrasound centres carrying out prenatal sex determination and grassroots interventions at the community level to bring about a change in mindsets.

In 2014, for the period January to December, the SRB was 880 girls per 1,000 boys. This rose to 901:1000 in 2015. Incidentally, Beti Bachao was launched in 2015 which further reinforced the district’s efforts that had taken off under project Shakti in 2014. The SRB further rose to 933 in 2016 and in December 2017 the SRB was recorded at 955:1,000.

Also: Rajasthan: Bride Rides Chariot To Spread Message of Gender Equality

Accolades

The ministry of women and child development has acknowledged the district’s performance and awarded it on the National Girl Child Day 2016 for outstanding performance in implementing Beti Bachao.

It was also awarded with Nari Shakti Puruskar last year for effective community engagement.

Grassroot efforts

Some of the grassroots efforts under Beti Bachao here include a weekly jan sunwai (public hearing) on Tuesday. For this, 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’s groups come together to discuss this.

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.

We hope authorities of other districts take a cue from Jhunjhunu and improve their sex ratio.
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