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 Health, education of girls focus of new policy


JAIPUR: The new 'girl child policy' approved by the state cabinet on Friday would help many children in the state get better healthcare facilities and education apart from security and protection without any gender discrimination.

The policy is unique in the sense that various departments of the government would be putting their combined effort to ensure that girls get all the benefits proposed in it.

Principal secretary, women and child development, Sarita Singh said: "The policy has been prepared taking into consideration that in the past one decade, the state witnessed growth in various spheres but the child sex ratio declined. So, a need was felt for holistic approach to improve the skewed sex ratio. The policy will focus on health, education, care, protection and security of girl child."

The top priority of the policy is to address the declining sex ratio in the state. The policy also advocates strict implementation of Pre-conception, Pre-natal and Diagnostic Act to prevent use of hi-tech machines for sex selection. The policy also proposes incentives for birth of girl child and for her survival. 'The panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) should ensure registration and tracking of all pregnancies in villages and towns in early stages. Ward panchs and gram sabha members must play their role in identifying families involved in female feticide," the policy says.

"The situation analysis highlights the need for eliminating sex selection, promoting gender equality in the delivery of health and education services, parental support for girl child's well-being, protection against violence, abuse and exploitation and strengthening girl child's empowerment," says the policy.

The policy encourages families to provide timely healthcare to girl child, special incentives to gram panchayats having a record of 99% of survival of children (boys and girls), immunization and antenatal care and incentives for ANMs & ASHA workers who make post-natal home visits to ensure that the newborn girl child remains healthy. In education, the policy proposes scholarships and transportation for girl child to ensure regular attendance in schools.

On various existing schemes for girls, the policy suggest that all the existing healthcare schemes should be reviewed to ensure that there should be no discrimination against girl child. Also, existing schemes including Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojna and Sabla should be expanded.

"In recognition of their vulnerability to neglect, the girl child up to the age of five years shall be provided with free transport to a health institution in case of a health-related emergency and treatment at the OPD for major illness. Special fund for the care of girl child for tertiary care shall be set up," it says.

Also, major emphasis of the policy was on ensuring proper nutrition of girl child. "An adolescent nutrition policy will be formulated to promote micronutrient, protein and calorie intake along with an adolescent nutrition programme targeting girls in schools and out of school girls," the policy says.






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