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Pahal: Ek Kadam Nari Samman Ki Aur



Pahal: Ek Kadam Nari Samman Ki Aur

Kathua sees a trending positive CSR 

“Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP)” was introduced in the year 2014 in 100 select district of country to address the issue of declining child sex ratio (CSR). Unfortunately, Kathua district also figured among these 100 districts having adverse child sex ratio; thereby depicting disparity and persistent bias against the girl child. During census 2011, district recorded measly Child Sex Ratio (CSR) figure against the state and Average.

To address this issue of declining child sex ratio (CSR) and related issues of women empowerment over a life cycle continuum, district administration Kathua under the guidance of Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Kumar conceptualized an unique initiative ‘PAHAL –ek kadam naari samman ki aur' as a multi sectoral campaign. Umbrella of initiatives; aimed to stem the declining trend of child sex ratio by means of advocacy efforts and community mobilization, to bring attitudinal change among the citizens regarding womanhood and to ensure equal opportunities for female birth and their survival with dignity; were started under the campaign.

With the active support of field staff viz. ASHA and Anganwadi workers, this multi sectoral approach resulted into some positive changes in the District reflected in the improved female indicators and increased CSR. Kathua District has registered new born girl to boy ratio of 873 in FY 2015-16 up from 862 in FY 2014-15 as per HMIS (Health Management Information System). Early registration of pregnant women, increase in girls to boys full immunization ratio and 21% point drop in number of pregnant women with hemoglobin less than 11 are also witnessed in the period (HMIS Data).

District administration conceptualized this initiative taking local factors and resources into consideration and prepared a holistic plan involving all stake holders; Public representatives, Gram panchayats, government institutions and public. Accordingly, systematic sensitization initiative “Pahal: Ek Kadam Naari Samman Ki Aur” was launched to reach out to maximum populace with the sole aim to spread the message of flagship programmes ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' and ‘Laadli Beti'. Pahal is conceptualized with twin focus of attitudinal change towards women issues and simultaneous improvement in institutional delivery mechanism.

An array of activities were taken up to educate the masses; mega awareness drive, signature campaign, mass media campaign, nukkad natak, awareness rallies, debates etc. Local folk artists with Dogri and Urdu as primary medium of communication is used so that it can have a connect with the masses. The ‘Caller Tune cum Jingle' initiative of cultural unit of District Information Centre, Kathua got huge praise and appreciation from all corners of the country and listed among best awareness practices by MoWCD, Govt of India.

Symposium and debate were organized in schools and colleges to sensitize all sections of societies regarding provision of punishment in PC & PNDT Act to discourage any misuse of diagnostic tools for sex selective elimination of girls. Deputy Commissioner, Ramesh Kumar rejuvenated District Advisory Committee under J&K PC&PNDT Act and formed a team of officers and expert to check the registered clinics for any practice of sex determination.

Special health and nutrition camps in identified worst sex ratio villages, distribution of Iron and Folic Acid tablets are being organized throughout the district. One 24*7 Toll free Women Health Helpline No. is also started in the district, where Counsellor is 24×7 available to provide counseling to callers. This has ensured round the clock healthcare advices to women on a phone call without visiting any healthcare institutions.

Special training camps are being organized regularly to educate the ASHA and Anganwadi workers as they are the front line functionaries who are in touch with the expecting mothers and helped in better care and tracking of an expecting mother in all Pre-natal and Post-delivery phases; thereby ensuring proper vaccination, improved health indicators and healthy environment for girl birth. Appreciation of best performing Anganwadi workers and Asha workers in mega awareness drive has given a new motivation among these key field functionaries.

Community mobilisation is an essential part of any social campaign, recognizing this, ‘Ladli Diwas' is being celebrated on 9th of every month at village panchayat and Municipal council level in the district. Dissipation of information regarding government initiatives, discussions on women issues, enrolment of girl children under “Laadli Beti Yojana”, celebrating the birth of Girl child, distribution of Kits to new born baby girls are some key activities during Ladli Diwas celebration. Public recognition and distribution of appreciation certificates & prizes to the girls who have excelled in , , music has helped girls to pursue their dreams and secure better position for them in society.

District Administration started incentive cum scholarship programs for Girl students in Government schools who are performing well in academic. To harness the potential of private educational institutions district administration also started project ‘PROTSAHAN', with an initial target of benefitting 220 poor girls every year who will be provided free education. As a result to these initiatives not only Girl to Boys enrolment ratio (per 1000) at primary level went up from 835 to 845, many girls from district found place in merit list. Special girl Athletic meet and Self Defense Training were also organized in the district to motivate the girls to be physically fit and making them more confident.

A rigorous social media campaign was initiated by launching a dedicated facebook page for PAHAL to disseminate the information about activities undertaken by different departments and agencies. To make the campaign a success, Media is widely used as a partner to disseminate information of schedule programmes and awareness generation. Kathua unit of department of Information & Public Relations played a vital role in reaching out to the various stakeholders and strengthening this initiative.

The endeavour of district administration in implementing the path breaking initiatives paved the way for brining upward trends in child sex ratio in the district which is quite encouraging and worth appreciating. This mass exercise of the administration has successfully held the nerve of the problem but a continuous bid is necessitated to contain this problem and mend the approach towards the girl child.

(DIO, Kathua)


The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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