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National Girl Child Day

  • 25 Jan 2022
  • 5 min read

For Prelims: National Girl Child Day.

For Mains: Rights of the girl child, related issues and steps needs to be taken.

Why in News

India celebrates National Girl Child Day every year on 24th January.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The National Girl Child Day was first initiated in 2008 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
    • The main focus is on changing society’s attitude towards girls, decrease female feticide and create awareness about the decreasing sex ratio.
  • ‘Save The Girl Child’ Webinar:
    • It was organised by the National Commission for Women (NCW) to promote rights of girl child and to increase awareness on various topics concerning girls including their education, health and nutrition.
  • Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar-2022:
    • Twenty-nine children were given the award on the occasion for their exceptional achievements in innovation, social science, education, sports, arts and culture and for demonstrating bravery.
    • They were given digital certificates using blockchain technology and a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh at an event held online.

Issues Related to Girl Child

  • Female Infanticide and Foeticide:
    • India has one of the highest rates of female foeticide in the world.
    • Female foeticide is due to strong son preference, the practice of dowry and the patrilineal necessity of heir.
    • The census of 2011 has recorded the lowest ever sex ratio of 914 in the age group 0-6 years with 3 million missing girls; from 78.8 million in 2001 to 75.8 million in 2011.
  • Child Marriage:
    • Each year, at least 1.5 million girls under 18 get married in India, which makes it home to the largest number of child brides in the world - accounting for a third of the global total. Nearly 16% of adolescent girls aged 15-19 are currently married.
    • While child marriage has declined, it has been marginal: from 27% in 2015-16 to 23% in 2019-20, according to National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 5.
  • Education:
    • Girls are encouraged and also engaged more in household work and drop out of school at an early age.
      • A study by the International Centre for Research on Women has found that girls out of school are 3.4 times more likely to be married or have their marriage already fixed than girls who are still in school.
  • Health and Mortality:
    • Girls in India face discrimination both inside their homes and outside in their communities. Inequality in India means unequal opportunities for girls.
    • Under-five mortality for girls in India remains 8.3% higher than for boys. Globally this is 14% higher for boys.

Steps taken by the Government

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: Launched in 2015 with the aim to address sex selective abortion and the declining child sex ratio which was at 918 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2011.
  • Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana: Launched in 2015, in order to promote the welfare of girl child. It encourages parents to invest and build funds for the future studies and marriage expenses of the girl's children.
  • CBSE Udaan Scheme: UDAAN is a project launched by the CBSE to address the low enrolment of girl students in prestigious engineering institutions and the teaching gap between school education and engineering entrance examinations.
  • National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE): It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2008, which aims to promote enrollment of girl child in the age group of 14-18 at secondary stage, especially those who passed Class VIII and to encourage the secondary education of such girls.

Way Forward

  • The answer to delaying child marriages lies in ensuring access to education since the practice is a social and economic issue.
    • Skill & business training and sex education in schools, will also help..
  • An awareness campaign is required on a massive scale on the increase in age of marriage, and to encourage social acceptance of this new legislation (Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill), which would be far more effective than coercive measures.
  • The NFHS findings are also a reminder of the urgent need to close gaps in girls’ education and address the pathetic nutritional status of women and children.

Source: PIB

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