The left-liberal establishment of the country has often accused BJP of being anti-women. The Congress party has repeatedly said that BJP does not stand for women empowerment. However, the data from the government suggests otherwise. According to Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao website, the Child Sex Ratio (defined as the number of girls per 1,000 boys between 0-6 years age) declined from 945 in 1991 to 927 n 2001. The ratio further declined to 918 in 2018. In the majority of these years, the country has Congress governments in centre and states.
On the other hand, Modi government launched Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme to save and empower girl child in January 2015, a few months after the party came to power. The scheme was allotted an initial fund of 100 crore rupees. The scheme targets the states with the lowest sex ratio like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Bihar and Delhi.
The economic support and personal appeal of PM Modi has been able to drive sex ratio at birth (SRB) and child sex ratio. According to a NITI Aayog report, the sex ratio at birth stood at 906 in 2014 when Modi government came to power. The SRB improved from 923 in FY 2015-16 to 931 in the last three years. SRB registered 3 points improvement in 2016-17 to 926, 929 in FY 17-18.
The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development gave the data on SRB in reply to a question in parliament. As per the data from the ministry, 25 states registered improvement in SRB while 11 states showed a decline. According to a Times of India report, “SRB rise was highest between 2015-16 and 2018-19 includes Lakshadweep (832 to 891 — 59 points), Andaman & Nicobar Islands (890 to 948 — 58 points), Goa (918 to 954 — 36 points), Nagaland (904 to 936 —32 points) and Uttarakhand (906 to 938 — 32 points).”
Haryana, the state where Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao was launched, showed a significant improvement from 887 girls per boys in 2016 to 914 in 2019. The combined effort of state and central government has produced fruitful results.
The awareness campaigns included initiatives like organising ceremonies to celebrate birth of girl child at health institutions and villages, unfurling of National Flag by educated girls on Republic Day and Independence Day celebrations, honouring parents of girl child at village level celebrations, observing ‘Female Foeticide Conservation Day’, signature campaign and oath ceremonies against female foeticide in education institutions and government offices, cash award for villages successful in improving skewed sex ratio, organising baby shows, prabhat pheries, celebrating Lohri of girl child, appointing girl ambassadors and mascots to create awareness, to name a few.
Secondly, the government has been focusing on strengthening the legislation and enforcing it effectively in efforts to check female foeticide and infanticide. Under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act and The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, the Haryana government has filed about 584 first information reports (FIRs) which is more than any other state in India in the period since January 22, 2015, when PM Narendra Modi had launched Centre’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) programme from Panipat, Haryana.
The substantial improvement in sex ration at birth, child sex ration and overall sex ratio in the first term of Modi government shows that it has achieved positive results on women empowerment front while the Congress government paid only lip service to the cause.