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Panipat, Jan 22:Denouncing the practice of female foeticide, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the discrimination against girls reflects mental illness and displays a mindset worse than that in the 18th century. Launching 'beti bachao beti padhao (save daughter, educate daughter)' scheme in this district of Haryana, a state with one of the poorest sex ratio, Modi also slammed doctors indulging in female foeticide, saying their sin was a betrayal against society. In a hard-hitting speech, he said, we cannot call ourselves citizens of 21st century by practising such a crime and we were by our mindset belonged to 18th century when daughters were killed soon after they were born. Administering a pledge to the gathering that they will work to end female foeticide and discrimination against girls, he said, We are in fact worse than that. In those times, (in 18th century), girls would be allowed to be born and live for some time. We kill our daughters in the wombs of their mothers... In the root of this is our mental poverty.
Noting that in the Indian society, sons are considered very important, he said there is a belief that daughters are a property of some other house where they would be married. This disease is not of Haryana alone but this mental illness ails the whole country. Pleading to end this ill practice, he said, The Prime Minister of this country had come to them like a beggar and was begging for the lives of daughters. Referring to Haryana, he said it was very painful for him to see that in a state which produced a woman like Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian woman to have travelled in space, other Kalpana Chawlas are killed in the wombs of their mother . He also launched Sukanya Samridhi Yojna (girl child prosperity scheme), under which girl children below 10 years will have bank accounts with more interest and income tax benefits. A host of Union ministers, including Maneka Gandhi, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani and J P Nadda, Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar joined Modi as he launched the scheme. Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit was also there to promote the drive against female foeticide. (Read: 3-day awareness tours for Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao flagged off in Haryana)
The campaign will be initially implemented in the 100 districts, including 12 in Haryana, across country where sex ratio is rather poor. By persisting with such a discrimination against girl child, the nation would not only harm itself but also generations to come, the Prime Minister said, adding it will take a lot of commitment and many years before the imbalance in sex ratio ended. Urging doctors to shun female foeticide, Modi said they were not given education for killing girl child and that it was their responsibility as part of the society to ensure girls' safety and progress.
I want to ask you if this is what you have to do to make money.. This sin is a betrayal against society, he said. Terming as a myth that sons take care of parents in their old age, Modi said had it been true, then so many old age homes would not have come up in the last 50 years. There are countless number of families where parents are unhappy despite having sons and where parents are happy due to their daughter, he said. Citing the incident in 2006 which a five-year-old boy Prince was rescued in an over 50-hour operation after he had fallen in a borewell in Kurukshetra, he said the whole country had prayed for him. He wondered why the same people become so insensitive when so many girl children are killed around them. (Read: Even our women don t spare the girl child!)
Stressing the need for quality education for girls, he said the fact that parents do not educate their daughters well but want well-educated daughters-in-law reflects society's double-standard . Maneka Gandhi said the 'beti bachao, beti padhao' campaign was the fourth major initiative of the Modi government after Jandhan Yojna, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Make in India campaign. A reward of Rs 1 crore will be given for the innovative village which attains a balanced sex ratio. Gandhi said there were 70 villages in the state where no girl child had been born for years. (Read: Medicare Hospital in Pune celebrates the birth of girl child)
Photo source: Getty images
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