Tripura campaign to improve lot of girls

June 23rd, 2009 - 10:53 am ICT by IANS  

Agartala, June 23 (IANS) In a move to improve the status of the girl child, the Tripura government that recently announced a special economic package for poor families with two daughters has now roped in a TV star as goodwill ambassador to propagate the message of gender equality.
Smita Nandy, the 15-year-old from the state who created a sensation with her appearances in “Sa Re Ga Ma Little Champs”, has been nominated as ambassador for the ‘Save the Girl Child’.

The campaign will address the entire gamut of issues, including immunisation, gender bias and the need to improve the sex ratio.

“Though Tripura is in a little better position as far as sex ratio among northeastern states are concerned, the state government has taken a set of steps to further improve the gender ratio,” Tripura Family Welfare and Preventive Medicine Department director Radhakanta Dhar told IANS.

The sex ratio in Tripura is 949 females per 1,000 males, followed by 900 in Nagaland, 935 in Assam and Mizoram, 972 in Meghalaya and 978 in Manipur. India’s sex ratio got reduced to 933 in 2001 from 972 in 1901.

“Smita Nandy will endorse themes, concepts and issues related to the campaign for the girl child, which would cover topics such as gender bias, immunisation, ill-effects of early marriages and so on,” Dhar disclosed.

According to Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, the sex ratio in Tripura had been showing a downward trend, forcing the state government to take a slew of initiatives under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

“The scheme would help in maintaining gender balance in the state. While gender equality is being upheld, female infants were still found on many occasions dumped in trash,” Sarkar said.

Last week, the Tripura government had announced a special economic package to ensure education and nourishment for the daughters of the poor.

“Under the scheme, the state government would provide Rs.300 to the mother of two girl children every month for their care and education,” Chief Minister Sarkar said.

The scheme, effective from June 1, would be valid for a girl child of a family below the poverty line (BPL) till she is 16 years old.

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