India offers cash incentives for girls

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by KristyHall, Jun 10, 2011.

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  1. KristyHall

    KristyHall Crowing

    Jan 27, 2011
    North Alabama
    I know I am bringing up a bunch of articles but there is so much that catches my interest today.

    So the women on this forum tend to be strong and independent, and many of us have grown to be assertive.

    But there is always a reminder to me the danger of strict male dominated cultures. It seems parts of India have gone the way of parts of china where girls are so devalued that they are rejected from families or not given a chance to be born at all.

    It is sad India has to do this, to give little girls a chance.

    India tries cash incentives to save its girls
    Strategy comes as selective abortion intensifies the pressure to have boys

    Chief District Health Officer, Dr. N. J. Patel, left, and senior member of Manav Sewa Education Charitable Trust, Manubhai Barot, right, hold a string of firecrackers as they interact with mothers and daughters during the launch of the 'Greet the Girl Child' campaign at the village Goraj, Sanand Taluka of Ahmedabad district, on May 11. The 'Greet the Girl Child' campaign is a joint venture between the Ahmedabad District Health Department and the Manav Sewa Education Charitable Trust in which any girl child born in Sanand Taluka will be greeted with the bursting of crackers by the villagers in an attempt to equally balance the ratio of both baby boys and baby girls.
    By Ben Arnoldy
    Staff writer

    updated 6/8/2011 4:31:22 PM ET
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    MULLAHERA, Inida — Not long ago, Mullahera, a village on what was then the outskirts of New Delhi, was the kind of place where families wanted a boy. Their reasoning was simple: A boy could inherit farmland, work the fields, and provide space in his future home for elderly parents.
    But in January, local officials came to Mullahera – now nestled alongside the glass towers of the ever-expanding city – to present residents with a significant gift: a check for 100,000 rupees, or $2,200, for producing more girl than boy births.
    With selective abortion of girls in India worse than ever, the state of Haryana – which has one of the worst birth ratios – has started to reward the village in each district that is defying the odds.
    Other cash incentives
    Haryana is not the only state trying such a tactic. The federal and state governments in India are testing cash incentives to encourage pregnant women to not screen for gender and abort their girls – a problem that grows with wealth and access to ultrasound technology. But while the programs offer stories of progress, activists say they distract from serious crackdowns on illegal gender testing.
    "We should give as many resources to girls and women [as we can]. I have no problem with that. But implement the law," says Sabu George, a campaigner against selective-sex abortion in India.
    Mullahera showed a birth ratio of 1,188 girls to 1,000 boys in 2009. That's way ahead of the latest figures for the district (an 853 to 1,000 ratio), the state (an 877 to 1,000 ratio), and India (a 914 to 1,000 ratio).
    Some of the 5,310 residents say that urbanization has improved the image of girls. "Now, with education, the work profile has changed," says Begraj Yadav, a local politician. "Girls are better office workers."

    The village chief, Manoj Yadav, says he frequently tells parents about women who hold government jobs, like their district commissioner. Even in sports, girls inspire: A Haryana woman climbed Mt. Everest.
    In one local home, Lakshmi Yadav lives with her two adult daughters, who each have one daughter. None of the women have sons, and they aren't troubled by it.
    "Do you think girls don't serve their parents when they get old? Girls are better any day," says Mrs. Yadav. Villagers point out that the tradition of a son living with elderly parents is fading. Yadav concedes a downside to girls: having to pay a dowry to marry them. "Look at the prices! We console ourselves saying this is enough [children] for us – even one girl is enough."
    What the numbers say
    The idea that urbanization is ending a preference for boys does not show up in national data, however. In fact, urban areas and wealthier regions have the worst ratios. That's because of access to ultrasounds, says Prabhat Jha, at the Center for Global Health Research in Toronto. "The preference for boys is pretty similar across India, rich areas or poor areas, north or south, educated or uneducated," he says. But "houses that have the money and means to get tested and abort girls are going to be the ones using [ultrasounds]."
    The 2011 Census figures show the problem has only deepened and spread across most of the country. Dr. Jha calculated that up to 12 million girls have been aborted over the past 30 years in India. He says the desire for smaller families puts added pressure on parents of one daughter to make sure their next child is a boy.
    IN PICTURES: India's unwanted girls
    Haryana offers $550 to families who have a second girl. But for all the incentive schemes put in place over the past decade, the 2011 Census saw only a tiny improvement in the state's ratio, which was more than offset by rapid falls in previously unaffected states like Kashmir.
    "Whatever measures that have been put in over the last 40 years have not had any impact," said G.K. Pillai, India's home secretary, after the 2011 Census.
    Hurdles yet
    The flaws in the village prize program are numerous. It includes villages as small as 5,000 people. In 2009, there were only 69 boys and 82 girls born in Mullahera.
    "With such small numbers, large fluctuations in the sex-ratio over time can exist just due to chance," says Sylvie Dubuc, a population researcher at the Oxford Institute of Social Policy.
    Indeed, in 2010, the ratio evened out with 70 boys and 69 girls born.

    Second, the village was not aware of the award before – and even after – winning. A third concern with cash rewards is their potential for abuse. Two different officials in Mullahera claimed to have possession of the 100,000 rupees.
    A Haryana official also says that the winners look fudged. "I have noticed that, according to the statistics, the villages with better girl-child ratios are not given the prize. So there has to be some manipulation in choosing villages," says Praveen Kumar Singh, deputy director of monitoring and evaluation in the state department of health. He declined to give supporting data.
    Greater transparency could help girl-child campaigners. "The release of more disaggregated census data down to a village level ... would actually create local debate, saying, 'Look, we are one of the worst offenders,' " says Jha.
    Education campaigns
    The award has inspired the four female health workers in Mullahera who feel their education campaigns and doctor visits with pregnant women have helped.
    The program is designed to energize the community. "It's not intended to convince the parents of the child. It's the community many times which also participates in the decisionmaking," says state financial commissioner Rajan Gupta. He claims such programs helped Haryana improve its ratio.
    For Mr. George, the activist, Haryana has nothing to brag about, with six of India's 10 worst districts for birth ratios. The problem – which he calls a "genocide" – is deepening. He argues that the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act of 1994, which punishes doctors for performing sex determinations, is the untried solution. "We can count on our own hands the number of districts where the law has been implemented because everywhere the doctors are so powerful," says George.
    This article, "India tries cash incentives to save its girls," first appeared on

  2. pdsavage

    pdsavage Sussex Monarch

    Mar 27, 2008
    Its just sad that girls are treated so badly and thought of as less just to make men feel superior.
  3. farmerlor

    farmerlor Songster

    Really though, in a land where some parts still don't allow women to inherit or be educated and the practice of suttee is still practiced and revered secretly would YOU want to have a girl there? If your husband was allowed to beat you while you were still in your childbed because now he had to find a dowry wouldn't you want to at least know what sex was in your belly?
  4. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    I just want to point out that pre-natal gender selection is illegal in all of India.

  5. Gallagherfarm

    Gallagherfarm In the Brooder

    May 17, 2011
    We adopted a girl from India with Down Syndrome. Her odds of a good life there was 0%. She came with many neglected basic needs. She would have died of sepsis from her horribly rotten teeth and inflammed tonsils within the year. She's learning to be loved and accept love now. She was 3.5 and now she's 6.
  6. farmerlor

    farmerlor Songster

    mom'sfolly :

    I just want to point out that pre-natal gender selection is illegal in all of India.​
  7. farmerlor

    farmerlor Songster

    It may be illegal but according to the article I read it's being done quite regularly just like anything else when a government gets involved with telling people what they can and cannot do with their bodies.

  8. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    Welcome to the rest of the world. This is how it is in most of the world.
  9. KristyHall

    KristyHall Crowing

    Jan 27, 2011
    North Alabama
    Quote:yes and the US and most or Europe was (and in some ways still is) like that. it is a hazard of Patriarchal cultures

  10. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    Is this the same country which refuses to eat cows?
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