Himachal CM launches scheme to check female foeticide

Shimla, Oct 20 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday launched a scheme to check female foeticide and low sex ratio in seven districts of the state, an official said.

An official statement here cited the Chief Minister as saying that it is important to improve the sex ratio and create awareness regarding improving the birth rate of the girl child.

The scheme, titled Muskan and an initiative of the Social Justice and Empowerment Department, will be launched in Chamba, Kinnaur, Kullu, Lahaul and Spiti, Shimla, Sirmaur and Solan districts to save the girl child, a government spokesperson told IANS.

The government has launched an intensive campaign in the state through “anganwadi” or female workers for improving the sex ratio and for mandatory registration of pregnancies in these districts latest by the tenth week of pregnancy.

The “anganwadi” workers will have to ensure that pregnancies are registered not only in their respective centres but also in the health sub-centres in that particular village, Social Justice and Empowerment Director Mansi Sahai said.

The gram panchayats with low sex ratio would be identified and included in the red alert panchayats and awareness would be spread through counselling of newly wedded couples.

She said multiple agencies like health, education, revenue and rural development would be involved for sensitising people with the help of the district administration.

Besides, mother of new born girl child would be honoured by the Chief Minister.

Himachal Pradesh has an overall child sex ratio (0-6 years) of 909. Twenty-four panchayats of Una district have an alarmingly low sex ratio of 500.