Save the girl child: PMC nod to fixed deposit scheme


Express news service : Pune, Sat Jul 13 2013,

To check sex selection,  the women and child welfare committee of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday approved a proposal seeking financial assistance to every girl child born in a poor family under the civic jurisdiction from April this year.As per the proposal, the civic body would make a fixed deposit of Rs 30,000 in the name of the girl child born in a family having income less than Rs 1 lakh. The girl can withdraw the money which will amount to Rs 2.4 lakh after interest, when she is 18 and provided she is unmarried.

The civic body will contribute Rs 20,000 while the parents will have to give Rs 10,000 to avail the scheme. The scheme would be eligible for citizens under the civic jurisdiction and up to two child per family.

“The committee will also contribute Rs 40,000 for a girl child if her parents decide to have only one child. In such cases, the parents need not contribute Rs 10,000 to avail the scheme,” said Varsha Marathe, chairperson of women and child welfare committee.

As many as 50,000 births take place every year in PMC. There are 938 female births for every 1,000 male births. This means 24,200 female births a year take place in the city.

If the civic body decides to include all of them in the scheme then the civic body would need a whopping Rs 48.27 crore. The scheme has a provision of merely Rs 5 crore and can be availed by beneficiaries who fulfill the criteria.

Civic body proposes to double scholarship of sportsmen

The PMC administration has proposed to double the scholarship given to sportsmen representing at district, state, national and international level. After the sports policy was approved last year, the civic body had made provision of Rs 25,000 for sportsmen from city representing at national and international level and Rs 15,000 for sportsmen representing the district.

PMC mounts vigil to keep monsoon diseases at bay

With the city having buckled under a volley of diseases during the last monsoon, particularly dengue, the civic authorities this year are mounting vigilance in advance to keep monsoon-related diseases at bay. Though swine flu claimed several lives, dengue and malaria attacked people with twin viral.

According to Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) monthly communicable disease report, 148 dengue cases, including five deaths, have been reported since January this year. Around 15 cases were reported in May and 36 in June, the report said.

As many as 66 cases of malaria and 184 cases of swine flu have been reported since January. While majority of swine flu cases were reported in February (44), March (64) and April (45), there were only two case in June. Around 98 snake bite cases have been registered since January, with 19 in June.

As per the PMC records, cases of viral hepatitis are on the rise, with a total of 682 cases reported since January. June alone reported 89 such cases.

In Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), officials said there were 47 cases of malaria since January.

The sentinnel surveillance centre set up by the PCMC to test dengue cases registered only two cases

 

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Nashik – Relatives stomp on Pregnant woman leading to abortion


Press Trust of India | Updated: April 16, 2013 15:18 IST

Nashik, MaharashtraIn-laws of 20-year-old pregnant woman here have been charged with murdering an unborn girl child after they allegedly stomped on her stomach and beat her, killing the two-month-old foetus, police said today.
The incident took place in the Mhasrul locality where victim Suvarna Gaikwad was being harassed mentally and physically for dowry since her marriage to Khanderao Gaikwad in June last year, they said.The young woman was being tortured to bring a dowry of Rs. 1.5 lakh for building a house. Later, when her in-laws came to know that she was pregnant, they took her to a ‘godman’ Shyambaba Shinde at Niphad, who told them that she was carrying a girl, police said.Suvarna was told to abort the girl child but when she refused to do so, she was allegedly roughed up by her husband, and family, including the mother-in-law killing the foetus on April 4.The matter was brought to light by Mahendra Datrange, President of Nashik unit of Blindfaith Eradicating organisation following which the husband, his brother Vijay Gaikwad, maternal father-in-law Dilip Suryavanshi and one of his kins Jalinder Suryavanshi was arrested yesterday, police said.

Offences have been registered against them under different sections of IPC at panchavati police station yesterday, police said.

Suvarna’s family, which alleged murder of the girl, is demanding the arrest of her mother-in-law Bibabai, Shinde and others involved in the killing

India: Money Is Plenty But Girls Are Scarce in Haryana


Published February 21, 2013

By CARL GIERSTORFER, FOR THE PULITZER CENTER

The highway to Mewat, a district in the Indian state of Haryana, is smooth and plastered with roadkill. Dogs, mostly, at least one flattened carcass every mile. Behind us is Gurgaon, a newly erected city of almost a million, where multi-nationals have found a home in glitzy high-rise buildings but no supply of running water (it’s brought in with trucks from Delhi).

Ahead of us is farmland dotted with property developments. Oxcarts next to SUVs, veiled women evading the gaze of my camera, men smoking gigantic hookahs while punching their smartphones.

This is Haryana, where villages flush with money are ruled by councils that command honor killings and where 14 is a suitable age to marry when you are a girl. That is, of course, if you were lucky enough to be born.

Because Haryana also has one of the most skewed sex ratios in India: the recent 2011 census counted 830 girls born for every 1,000 boys. In other words: tens of thousands of baby girls are aborted every year because families here (as in much of the rest of India) strongly prefer boys.

“There are many reasons for this,” says Shafiq ur Rahman Khan, an activist who heads an NGO called Empower People and who has come with us to Haryana. It’s the son who inherits the wealth of a family; it’s the husband’s parents who are looked after in old age by the bride (not her own parents). And there is the dowry system, where huge sums have to be paid by the bride’s family to the future husband.

A case in point is the pile of fridges and air conditioners, flat-screen TVs, sofas and armchairs in the hallway of the building where Empower People have their Mewat office: excess dowry belonging to the recently married landlord that he could not fit into his new home.

We have come here to look at the social consequences of the skewed sex ratio: what does it mean for a society if it lacks a significant amount of women? Shafiq has been working in the area since 2006 and has established contacts with many villages in the region. He believes that the disregard for the rights of women is at the root of many problems that plague the region, from sexual violence to bride trafficking and child marriages.

Through Shafiq and his local co-workers we hope to get access to some of these villages. It won’t be an easy task, especially after the Delhi rape case that awoke a whole nation to the widespread problem of violence against women. But Shafiq is confident that through his network we will be able to speak to some women about their situation.

 

BMC to beef up vigilance in wards with dismal sex ratio


By, TNN | Feb 19, 2013,  IST

MUMBAI: Fifteen of the BMC‘s 24 wards across the city improved their sex ratio at birth in 2012 from 2011.

The B Ward of Bhendi Bazaar and Masjid Bunder recorded the highest sex ratio at birth of 996 girl children born per 1,000 boys.

Areas such as Malabar Hill came a close second; it recorded 979 deliveries of girl children per 1,000 boys in 2012, up from 915 girls in 2011. Borivli, too, registered 979 girl births in 2012, up from 914 in 2011.

These figures are based on the data compiled by the BMC, which issues birth certificates in the city.

Demographics and gender studies experts have attributed the improvement in the sex ratio to awareness drives as well as stringent regulation of maternity and sonography clinics, and sustained crackdown on illegal sex determination.

The largest dip in sex ratio, on the other hand, has been recorded in the C Ward of Bhuleshwar, Pydhonie and Sandhurst Road. The number has dropped from 981 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011 to a shockingly low 860 girls in 2012. The other areas that have witnessed a drastic dip include Kandivli. It recorded 882 births of girls per 1,000 boys in 2012 against 907 in 2011. Dahisar, too, registered a lower figure of 891 girls against 893 in 2011.

Dr Arokya Swamy, demographer at the Indian Institute of Population Studies (IIPS), said theBMC should now focus on localities that have shown a dip and strengthen their vigilance to curb female foeticide.

The BMC, on its part, has already lined up a programme for specific areas where the sex ratio is low or has fallen drastically. The civic body has asked its primary health staff to increase surveillance and immediately report any illegal activity in their areas. “We will also dissect the data so that the reason for the dip can be understood. Effective steps will be taken to improve the situation,” said a senior health officer.

Experts added the drop in certain areas could be attributed to the fact that young couples these days opt for a single child and may choose a male over a female child.

They further said that this data does not pinpoint to any trend, though, as there are cases where a mother may have delivered a female child in some ward and acquired her birth certificate from another.

“There is also a chance that the expectant mother has gone to her mother’s residence for delivery and got a birth certificate from the ward where she lives. Such cases may be few, but cannot be neglected,” said Dr Swamy.

 

Sex ratio skewed in even Delhi Police


Jatin Anand, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 20, 2012

Delhi Police not only lack enough men, but it also falls short on recruiting enough women in its force. Of its official, sanctioned strength of 80,000, just a little over a paltry 8% are women who, by law, must serve as the first point of contact for women victims and perpetrators of  crime. Moreover, only a third of these women personnel is available for active duty at any given point in time. This, senior police officers feel, makes the institution of 24×7 women helpdesks impossible.

https://i2.wp.com/www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/12/20_12_12-metro2c.jpg

“Last year, women helpdesks were created at each of our 161 police stations. But these are functional only during usual office timings,” said an officer.

“Making them functional 24×7, at least in police stations near universities, PG accommodations and popular markets has been mulled several times. But we don’t have the manpower to do so,” the officer admitted.

While the agency’s security unit has the strength of at least 7,500, the Delhi Police has only 6,000 to 7,000 women personnel in its ranks. This, when it attends to at least four dozen calls of crime against women daily.

Nearly 4,500 of these women have desk jobs — either at police stations and ancillary departments or as call attendants at the Central Police Control Room. “Sometimes, it becomes difficult to make an arrest, or assist a women victim as a women officer is not available,” admitted an officer. “Sometimes operations are subject to the presence not of the criminal involved, but of the women officer.”

Such is the manpower crunch that the police do not even have enough people to run the 370 new PCR vans their chief has been promised. The force has now drafted a proposal to be allowed to recruit at least 5,380 more personnel. How many of them will be women remains to be seen.

#India -Life term for sex selection : J&K #PCPNDTAct


Published: Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012, 9:09 IST

Greedy parents beware! Your intention to get rid of the girl child may land you in jail for life in Jammu and Kashmir.The Omar Abdullah led government is contemplating to amend the law to make sex selection a non-bailable offence punishable by life imprisonment in the restive Jammu and Kashmir.
Census 2011 has revealed an alarming decline in the sex ratio in Jammu and Kashmir. Figures have put the sex ratio (females per 1000 males) in Jammu and Kashmir at 883 down by nine points since the 2001 census.“I want to create a major deterrent against this offence. Sex Selection  is a heinous crime. I want it to be non bailable offence and the minimum punishment for those involved (including parents and doctors) should be life imprisonment”, Sham Lal Sharma, J&K health minister toldDNA.

Sharma said that he wants a debate on this issue so that consensus is evolved before the law is amended or changed.“I have put it in the public domain for discussions. Whatever consensus is formed, we will proceed accordingly”, he said.Health minister said he would be approaching the Bar Associations in Jammu and Kashmir to solicit their support in curbing the offence.

“I am seeking support from all civil society groups. I will be approaching the Bar Associations so that lawyers will not plead the cases of those involved in the illegal practice”, he said.What has added a new dimension to whole issue is government’s move to involve religious leaders to curb the illegal practice of  sex selection .“I wrote to Ghanis, Pandits, Shastries and Imams about this issue and I got a very good response. Maulvis talk about this issue after azaan and Pandits also discuss during satsang. These are very encouraging indicators”, Sharma said.

The government has also endorsed the recommendation of Jammu and Kashmir state supervisory board for Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Sex Selection/Determination Act to introduce medical audit of the ultrasound clinics- centers to ensure their proper monitoring.

#India- #Punjab – Discarded daughter has emerged as ‘ray of sunshine’


Sarita Skagnes has no birth certificate for a chillingly pragmatic reason: She was to be killed as a baby for the crime of being born a girl.

But her father’s attempt to smother her at 8 weeks old was unsuccessful. She lived to endure a devastating childhood, abandoned by her parents at 3, forced to work as an indentured servant, raped by two family members and plagued by hunger and loneliness.

Yet Skagnes triumphed, never to be smothered again.

Now 43, happily married and an international advocate for children’s rights, Skagnes is in the Twin Cities this week to speak about her life — more accurately, her two lives — and her best-selling book, “Just A Daughter,” newly translated into English.

“I came to this earth as Satwant Kaur of the Shimbe caste,” Skagnes writes. “I was just a daughter — good for nothing, just like many other daughters.”

Skagnes was born in 1969 in Punjab, India, her parents’ third girl. During the pregnancy, her mother sought out priests and gurus who blessed her stomach and promised her a son.

“When I came to the world,” Skagnes said, “I was a catastrophe.”

At 3, her family moved to Oslo, Norway, leaving her behind with an aunt and uncle who, she believed, were her parents. In exchange, her biological parents took their nephew with them to raise as their long-awaited son.

“He would have a good life, a rich life, a good education,” Skagnes said.

She would have nothing of the sort. At 4, she began mopping floors and washing dishes. She slept on the kitchen floor and waited until after her family ate to consume the scraps.

For five years, she was sexually abused by an older cousin. Her aunt was enraged to learn of it, telling Skagnes it was her fault.

She attended school sporadically but felt out of place with her “shabby clothes.”

When she was 9, “the couple from Norway” visited India with their newborn son (conceived after Skagnes’ mother aborted two or three female fetuses). Skagnes remembers the joyful party held for them, with rare sweets. And she remembers being told that the Norwegian couple were actually her parents. She was stunned, and hopeful.

“I thought they lived like a king and queen,” she said. “I thought that if I was a good girl, doing my job properly, maybe they would take me to Norway.” She served them tea, hoping they would notice her. “But they were so busy with this stupid baby boy.” (She laughs at the comment, emphasizing that she loves her younger brother “very much.”)

Her father finally came for her when she was 16. First, he raped her. She ran away. He promised to never touch her again, and he didn’t. She moved to Norway and began school again, full time. Life was comfortable. She had a bed, food and clothes.

Cleaning a house at 19, she noticed that the homeowner’s son, Alex Skagnes, often stuck around when she arrived. They became friends, then more. He told her that she was beautiful, “a ray of sunshine.” When her father found a photograph of his daughter and Alex, he beat her up and quickly arranged for her marriage to a man in India. She ran away again, cut her hair, changed her name and, in 1990, married Alex.

She hasn’t had contact with her parents in more than 20 years.

In 2004, Skagnes reconnected with one of her sisters, who was in a psychiatric hospital. The sister encouraged Skagnes to write a book about her life. Skagnes wrote 1,000 pages in eight months. Then her sister committed suicide, and a devastated Skagnes lost her desire for the project. A few years later she realized “this was not about me or my sister.”

This was about what could be for other girls.

The book, “Bare en Datter” (Just a Daughter), was published in Norway in 2007, becoming a best-seller soon re-published in Finland and Sweden. Skagnes found herself speaking at Parliament and being stopped on the street for her autograph.

But celebrity doesn’t drive her. Baby girls still are being killed in India, she said, mostly in poorer villages. Many girls have no chance at an education. For 25 years, Skagnes has sponsored girls in India so they can stay in school. Among them, one is now a doctor, another an engineer.

She donates book royalties to her nonprofit, Higher Education for Girls in India (www.saritaskagnes.com).

“This is something she needed to do,” said Sonja Johnston, minister of music at the Minnesota Valley Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship in Bloomington. Johnston, a popular Twin Cities pianist and singer, is Alex Skagnes’ second cousin. She spent two years translating Skagnes’ book into English. An immensely grateful Skagnes calls Johnston “Mom.”

“I was so tested, but I didn’t fail,” Skagnes said. “All the bad things were not my fault. That took me 30 years to figure out.”

 

 

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