Towards gender-neutral society

Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani, released a book, titled 'Chronicles of Change Champions' at an event held in New Delhi on March 5.

The book is a compilation of 25 innovative initiatives taken at the State and District levels under the Prime Minister's flagship scheme of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP). It captures the convergent approach adopted at the grassroots level and provides insight into the unique manner of community engagement by the District Administration and frontline workers.

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister congratulated and commended the State and District Administrations of the 25 districts whose innovative activities under BBBP have been published in the compilation. She expressed hope that these stories will inspire other districts and communities. She also urged all the participants to further commit their support to the rights of the girl child by joining the Jan Andolan and collectively moving forward on the agenda of accomplishing a gender-neutral society.

Irani further said that the continuation of the scheme in this new decade shows the resolve of the country to the cause of the girl child and she added that this decade will be the decade of Indian women and the girl child. WCD Minister informed that this year the Ministry will work with Human Resource Development Ministry to launch a mission to get out-of-school girls back into schools with the help of the local community.

She also urged those districts, which are lagging in the girl child sex ratio to work with best performing States like Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh who have done commendable work in improving the sex ratio of the girl child.

A panel discussion on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: 'Challenging the Gender Stereotypes' through Jan Andolan was chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development. The speakers included representatives from academic and research institutions along UN agencies. A short film on BBBP was also screened.

The BBBP scheme was launched by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on January 22, 2015 at Panipat, Haryana as a comprehensive programme to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and the related issues of empowerment of women over a life-cycle continuum. Expanded in a phased manner and currently being implemented in all the 640 districts of the country, BBBP is a step towards the nation's resolve to accomplish gender equality by promoting and prioritising the needs and rights of the girl child.

The scheme is a tri-ministerial initiative of the central government ministries of Women & Child Development, Human Resource Development and Health & Family Welfare. A convergent approach and community engagement are the main pillars of the scheme and has resulted in increased awareness and sensitisation of masses for accomplishing a gender-neutral society. Capacity building of key stakeholders, flexible adaptation of the Scheme to meet local needs through a District Action Plan and innovative activities, generating awareness through frontline workers and recognising committed key stakeholders, including BBBP Local Champions are also the key elements of the Scheme.

Minister for State for WCD, Debashree Chaudhari, Secretary Ministry of WCD, Rabindra Panwar, Special Secretary, Ministry of WCD and other senior officials of Ministries of WCD, Human Resource Development and Health and Family Welfare were present on the occasion.

The event saw the participation of a diverse group of stakeholders, including senior officials of State Governments and District Administration, international organisations, academicians and think-tanks.

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