National Girl Child Day: How Odisha Govt Initiatives Helped Ganjam District to Improve Child Sex Ratio

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Berhampur:  Even as the country is celebrating National Girl Child Day today to raise awareness among people about the inequalities, discrimination, exploitations faced by the girls, the Odisha Government’s innovative steps help Ganjam districts stand out in increasing sex ratio.

The district made exemplary achievement in addressing the issue of declining child sex ratio through innovative schemes in a campaign mode.

Although, the child sex ratio of Odisha is better than the national average, the Ganjam district had the lowest child sex ratio in comparison to the state as well as national average.

As per the 2011 census, the child sex ratio was 941 per 1,000 males in Odisha as compared to 919 national average, whereas the ratio was 908 in Ganjam district.

The sex ratio in the district, which stood at 939 in 2001 census, had come down to 908 in 2011. It had further dropped to 854 in 2017, which was a cause of concern for the State.

Thanks to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the scenario in Ganjam district has been changed positively reversing the declining trend in the sex ratio.

As per official sources, the child sex ratio in the district stands at 939 by the end of 2019 and several blocks have bettered the district average, most noticeable being the Berhampur where the child sex ratio is nearly 1000.

Such an impressive rise in the sex ratio has been largely attributed to the Odisha Government’s two path-breaking schemes – Biju Kanya Ratna and Mo Gelha Jhia.

Biju Kanya Ratna (Ama Kanya Ama Ratna):  With an aim to create an environment for girls that promote equal opportunities, eliminate discrimination and ensure empowerment through changes in the social attitudes of the people, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had launched the Biju Kanya Ratna, popularly known as Ama Kanya Ama Ratna from the year 2016-2017 for a period of 3 years in the State with special focus on the low child sex ratio districts, such as Angul, Dhenkanal and Ganjam.

Many innovative initiatives have been taken under the programme for the development and empowerment of girls and women.

The scheme has been successful in mobilizing the community and all stake holders towards ensuring the birth, survival and development of the girl child in Ganjam district.

Mo Gelha Jhia: It is a special initiative launched by the Ganjam district administration on January 14 last year under the Biju Kanya Ratna scheme to narrow down the widening gap in child sex ratio and promote gender equality by making people aware of the importance of girls in the society.
Under the programme, a first of its kind in the country, the administration celebrates birthday of every girl born in the district each fortnight of every month. The house of the infant is decelerated with flowers and balloons and the celebration is done by cake cutting and distribution of sweets to welcome the newborn girls. The parents of newborns are felicitated with flower bouquet, certificates and a baby kit by the administration. Besides, a bank account is also opened in the name of the newborn under Sukanya Samrudhi Yojana.

The district admin has played an instrumental role in motivating the Gaon Kalyan Samiti, Asha and Anganwadi workers and the public to actively participate in the programme and make it successful.

In just one year of completion of the Mo Ghela Jhia programme, we are getting positive results in improving child sex ration in the district, said Ganjam Collector Vijay Amrita Kulange.

He also expressed confidence that with such positive steps the sex ratio in the district would become equal within a few years.

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