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Posted on Jan 24, 10:50PM | IBNS
Union Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Krishna Tirath on Thursday said it is a cause of national concern that the child sex ratio has been showing a declining trend in India.
Tirath and former President A P J Abdul Kalam awarded children who have won the national slogan writing competition on the National Girl Child Day, here on Thursday.
Tirath and Chief Guest for the function, Kalam awarded the winners of the national slogan writing competition.
Speaking at the occasion, Tirath said that while children are the future of the nation, it is a cause of national concern that the child sex ratio has been showing a declining trend.
The decline in the affluent sections of the society is worrisome, she pointed out.
This trend does not portend a healthy future for the society and the country, she added.
Declining child sex ratio and child marriages are not isolated events, the Minister said.
"They both point to and emerge from the low respect for women in the Indian society. Cultural preference for male child, combined with technological advances which have made availability of cheap ultrasound machines easy to procure have resulted in increasing female foeticide," she said.
The Minister narrated instances from some villages from Rajasthan where the newly born girl children are killed immediately after birth, because of the cultural preference for the male child.
She said that the Ministry of WCD is in the process of bringing out a National Plan of Action for abetting the falling child sex ratio through a comprehensive action plan with the support of all concerned Ministries, such as Health, Human Resource Development, Drinking water and Sanitation etc.
In order to empower women and protect the girl child, the Minister elaborated on the schemes and initiatives taken up by the Ministry of WCD such as SABLA and the ICDS which has resulted in better nutrition and education among the children and young and adolescent women.
Tirath also elaborated on the newly formed Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 where stringent punishment has been provided for sexual assault on children.
In his key note address at the occasion, Kalam said that girl child and women are social assets, and they need to be nurtured and protected for a healthy society.
There are many laws in the country for women and children but they are not enough, Kalam said. "They need to be implemented in letter and spirit."
He said that reserving 33pc of seats in the Parliament will lead to empowering women.
Kalam further said that a happy home with nurturing parents and guiding teachers shape and mould the future of the child.
He said that when the child is empowered by the parents he/she develops into a responsible citizen of the country; and empowering women ensured the harmony within the society.
Parents need to inculcate the habit of reading in the children right from a young age, Kalam stated.
He also had the children present at the occasion take a vow that they will plant five trees and nurture them before they turn 17 years of age, pointing to the importance of a clean and green environment.
WCD Secretary Prem Narain pointed at the escalation in the drop-out rate of girl child in the country and expressed concern about the declining child sex ratio.
He said these have reached a level where the whole country needs to be concerned, as this is a matter of survival of the society.
He also mentioned that many girls drop out of school early due to lack of facilities such as drinking water, sanitation and toilets in many schools.
Many times the schools are far away from the homes, he said.
The Ministry of WCD and HRD have taken a pledge, he said, to provide all schools with toilets in the 12th FYP.
He also elaborated on various schemes of the Ministry of WCD which have empowered women and the girl child.
He further said amendments are being proposed in the Dowry Act and the Immoral Trafficking Act.
At the national slogan writing competition, the first prize winners were given prize of Rs. 50,000; the second and third prize winners were given Rs. 35,000 and Rs. 25,000 each.
For the Hindi slogans, the first prize was awarded to K K Chandralekha of Bangalore and second prize went to Swapnil Jain from Jabalpur.
The third prize of Rs. 25,000 each was given away to Praveen Jabar of Chattisgarh and Saumya Sharma of Jaipur.
In the English category Kanupriya Sharma won the first prize and Debangee Roy of Kolkata won the second prize.
The third prize was shared equally by Anmol Rathod of Jammu and Veerta Singh of Kurukshetra, Haryana.
More than 4000 students in the age group of 14-18 participated in the slogan writing competition.
This was organized by the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW), under the Ministry of WCD.