Jaipur: ‘Free’ tag brings more girl out for treatment

DNA | Apr 10, 2013,
Jaipur: A rapid assessment study celebrating the free medicine scheme conducted by district collectors and Chief Medical Health Officers renders a chilling reminder of the continuing mindsets towards the girl child in the state. The study shows that there has been a two to three-fold increase in the treatment of girl children (0-6 years of age), in the six months that the scheme came into being (Oct 2012-Mar 2013) compared to the pre-free medicine scenario (Mar 2012-Sept 2012).
Money wise
The district, which has shown the highest rise in the number of girl children availing free medicines is Jhalawar. According to officials, the number of girls coming in as patients has tripled in the district. Before the scheme was introduced, the number of girl children who took the treatment was 4469, which increased to 12,883, doctors said.
In Barmer there has been an increase of 90 to 100 percent. Before the scheme was initiated, 31,640 girls registered for treatment. Their numbers rose to 62,763 after the scheme’s implementation.
In simple terms, now that the medicines are ‘free’, people are finally flocking to hospitals to avail treatment for their girl children, implying they were not being treated whenever it implied a financial cost.
Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation (RMSC) MD Samit Sharma said, “After the scheme has been launched, a two to three fold increase in girl children coming for treatment has been witnessed. Now, people are taking their girl children to hospitals for treatment in large numbers,” he added. Sharma said that it is for the first time in the last 65 years there is access to health services as people can get free medicines. Now free medical tests will definitely help in the increase of girl child ratio in the state, he stated.
Dr Hemant Acharaya of Save the Child organisation said, “With the government initiative of free medicine, free medical tests and schemes like Shubh Laxmi Yojna, people are now willing to bring their girl child for medical attention, which will be a boon to save the female child.” In the state, people are gender biased giving priority only to the male child. People do not spend on girl child education, health and food nutrition, which has reflected in a declining female sex ratio.
The free medicine scheme was started in October 2012 and until now around 10 crore people have benefited from it. Last year alone, 7.63 crore people availed of scheme.




A village that plants 111 trees for every girl born in Rajasthan

Jaipur, April 11, 2013

Mahim Pratap Singh, The Hindu

  • A pond at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy: www.piplantri.com
    A pond at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy:www.piplantri.com
  • A check dam at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy: www.piplantri.com
    A check dam at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy:www.piplantri.com

In an atmosphere where every morning, our newspapers greet us with stories of girls being tormented, raped, killed or treated like a doormat in one way or another, trust India’s “village republics” to bring in some good news from time to time.

One such village in southern Rajasthan‘s Rajsamand district is quietly practicing its own, homegrown brand of Eco-feminism and achieving spectacular results.

For the last several years, Piplantri village panchayat has been saving girl children and increasing the green cover in and around it at the same time.

Here, villagers plant 111 trees every time a girl is born and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up.

Over the last six years, people here have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons- inlcuding neem, sheesham, mango, Amla among others.

On an average 60 girls are born here every year, according to the village’s former sarpanch Shyam Sundar Paliwal, who was instrumental in starting this initiative in the memory of his daughter Kiran, who died a few years ago.

In about half these cases, parents are reluctant to accept the girl children, he says.

Such families are identified by a village committee comprising the village school principal along with panchayat and Anganwadi members.

Rs. 21,000 are collected from the village residents and Rs.10,000 from the girl’s father and this sum of Rs. 31,000 is made into a fixed deposit for the girl, with a maturity period of 20 years.

But here’s the best part.

“We make these parents sign an affidavit promising that they would not marry her off before the legal age, send her to school regularly and take care of the trees planted in her name,” says Mr. Paliwal.

People also plant 11 trees whenever a family member dies.

But this village of 8,000 did not just stop at planting trees and greening their commons. To prevent these trees from being infested with termite, the residents planted over two and a half million Aloevera plants around them.

Now these trees, especially the Aloevera, are a source of livelihood for several residents.

“Gradually, we realized that aloevera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways. So we invited some experts and asked them to train our women. Now residents make and market aloevera products like juice, gel, pickle etc,” he says.

The village panchayat, which has a studio-recorded anthem and a website of its own, has completely banned alcohol, open grazing of animals and cutting of trees.

Villagers claim there has not been any police case here for the last 7-8 years.

Mr. Paliwal recalls the visit of social activist Anna Hazare, who was very happy with the progress made by the village, he says.

“But Rajasthan is quite backward in terms of village development compared to panchayats in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra etc. So we need to work hard towards creating more and more empowered villages,” says the former sarpanch, hoping the government listens to him.

Keywords: RajasthanRural developmentGirl childPiplantriEnvironmentWomen empowerment


#Rajasthan -Headless court: No judge to hear PCPNDT cases

DNA | Jan 10, 2013, 04:31AM IST

Jaipur:In July last year, a wired media, screaming activists and Aamir Khan’s final cut all jolted the CM into announcing seven special courts in each of the divisional headquarters for “speedy disposal” of cases booked under the PCPNDT Act to check sex selection . The agitation was quelled. The media moved on. The activists moved on. And Aamir Khan moved out.
A visit to the ‘special’ PCPNDT court in Jaipur seven months later, is instructive.
The court does not have a presiding officer. In simple terms, it has no judge to hear the cases, for the last one month or so. “Transferred, but not replaced,” comes the reply. Of the 130 cases registered so far, none of them pertain to the relatives or parents who went in for sex-selective abortion. All the cases – against sonography centres or doctors for not maintaining records, formats under the Act and those caught in decoy operations – are in the initial stage of “pre-charge” or “evidence”. That means, far from reaching any conclusion.
There is one assistant public prosecutor, himself on additional charge from another court, who has to handle the cases single handedly. This includes calling witnesses for summons from anywhere in the five districts falling under Jaipur division, using his own phone. And he has to do all this without any table or chair.
“The doctors bring senior lawyers, with swanky laptops. We don’t even have a phone, leave alone computer. There is no place to sit, either for me or people. The witnesses coming from other districts not only bear hardships, but also all the expenses,” said Ramesh Kumar Atal, the sole assistant public prosecutor in PCPNDT court. Hearings are fixed weekly, he added.
A PCPNDT Bureau of Investigation was set up under the medical and health department for “effective implementation of the Act”. 120 news posts were created. They are all lying vacant.
In the PCPNDT cell of the department, the staff is working overtime in collating, tallying and feeding information online. The small team looks surprisingly efficient and organized for a government department. All of them, save the deputy director, are contractual staff.

Rajasthan woman sells son for Rs.40,000, held



09th August 2012 05:05 PM

A woman, her husband and two others were arrested Thursday for selling her new-born son for Rs.40,000 in Rajathan’s Sriganganagar town, police said.

Sandhya Devi sold the child to her neighbour and his wife to get money for the treatment of her two-year-old paralytic son. She lives in Satya Farm neighbourhood in the town, some 500 km from Jaipur, police said.

“She had taken her paralytic son to a hospital in Udaipur where the doctors told her that his treatment would cost around Rs.40,000,” said an officer.

“Sandhya was pregnant at that time. When her neighbour Vinod Agarwal came to know that she was in need of money, he offered to bear the treatment cost of her paralytic son. In exchange, he demanded that she would have to sell her baby after delivery, in case it is a boy,” said the officer.

The officer said that Agarwal paid Rs.20,000 to Sandhya after she gave birth to a baby boy recently and said that he would pay the remaining amount after she handed over the new-born to him.

The team of anti-human trafficking branch of police got a tip-off about the illegal deal to sell the baby after which an investigation was launched.

A first information report was registered against Sandhya, her husband Ashok, neighbour Agarwal and his wife Shakuntala Devi Wednesday evening. “They were arrested Thursday,” said the officer.


Over 350 private sonography clinics stop operation in Jaipur


Press Trust of India / Jaipur May 22,


Nearly 350 private sonography clinics in the district today stopped operation in protest against “arbitrary attitude” of Rajasthan health department while carrying out crackdown against female foeticide.

Clinics in Jaipur did not conduct tests on pregnant women today whereas sonography centres in other districts would join them tomorrow.

“It is not a strike nor agitation, but a painful decision we are bound to take due to arbitrary attitude of the government which in the name of violation of PCPNDT act is targeting innocent doctors,” Vijay Kapoor, secretary of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Society said in a press conference here today.

“In the last few months, the department has taken action against several innocent doctors in the name of violation of the act, Pre conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex selection) 1994,” he said.

Expressing support on the need to stop female foeticide, Kapoor said those found guilty should be suspended, however, the government should be impartial in its approach.

“We are also against sex determination and all the doctors are not involved in this illegal practice. Those who are not indulged in this are also being targeted by the department unnecessarily which is objectionable so we have no option but to stop functioning sonography machines,” he said.

Sanjay Arya, president of the society said private sonography centres in other districts will not conduct test from tomorrow for indefinite period.

“We are getting confirmation from private doctors in other districts and they will join us from tomorrow,” he said.

Doctors are being targeted even for a clerical mistake. It is not justified,” he said.

When contacted, an official of health department denied the charge saying that checking of sonography centres, wherever it took place, was impartial.

Mukhbir Yojna scripts a success story in state

JAIPUR: The Mukhbir Yojna, which was launched in January to intensify the fight against sex selection, has now started paying dividends. In one of its major achievements, a doctor was caught red-handed for alleged involvement in sex determination in Jaipur‘s Vaishali Nagar area on Wednesday.

An official of the Pre-conception and pre natal diagnostic techniques (PCPNDT) cell said, “The Mukhbir Yojna has started showing results as we are getting tip offs on illegal practices. The doctor who was caught red-handed was an outcome of the Mukhbir Yojna.”

The government introduced the Yojna under which a person providing confirmed information about the involvement of a doctor or a medical staff in sex determination will get a reward of Rs 25,000. A reward of equal prize money has also been set aside for those who can give information about unregistered and illegal sonography machines.

The official said a day before the raid (on Tuesday), the PCPNDT cell received information about the doctor’s involvement in sex determination.

( How long will this work , thats the question )

Sarpanch puts an end to sex selection in a Rajasthan GP

P J Joychen in Jaipur,

Most politicians prefer to get elected from reserved constituencies/ wards as they are considered safe.
But this Dalit woman is different. She not
only contested from an unreserved ward, but  also emerged victorious.
Now, it does not surprise many  as to how she managed to win the seat. 

On becoming a sarpanch, she took up issues that have been long kept on the back burner in Rajasthan. She has become a role model for others by bringing the gender issues to the mainstream. She has addressed the crucial issue of sex selection, infant and maternal mortality and reproductive and child health by focusing on gender fostering.
Tara Devi is a household name in the region. Her leadership traits and dedication to her panchayat have impressed not only the local people but also the resear­chers and academics visiting the area for developmental studies.

At a recent workshop on “Strengthening Gender Response of Panchayats in Rajasthan: Successes and Challenges” in Jaipur, Tara Devi shared her experiences. Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) State Coordinator Krishan Tyagi says that he approached the gram pancha­yat and the Village Health and Sanitation Committee (VHSC)
to improve the situation and organised orientation and capacity building meetings for the panchayat members.

Tara Devi’s long-drawn-out struggle and success in achieving women’s empowerment to a considerable degree
are an inspiring saga for the marginalised Dalit communities. Her story proves that the Dalit women
panchayat functionaries can perform better than their male counterparts if given proper direction,
training and guidance.

Samerdha Nosera is among the 20 GPs in the district included by the Sangam Matri Mission Sansthan (SMMS) in a project for “Strengthening Gender Resp­onse of Panchayats in Rajasthan” (SGRPR). PRIA has initiated the ambitious project. The gender-specific data collected under the SGRPR shows that the major reasons for drop in child sex ratio are inadequate health facilities and negligence towards the female newborn. A survey in Samerdha Nosera revealed a ratio of 57:35 between the home deliveries and institutional deliveries, indicating that women do not find the latter attractive.

The village is situated in a remote area and does not have easy connectivity with the urban surroundings.
Lack of basic amenities like water, electricity and nutritious
food earlier made the conditions worse in the region.

During the orientation meetings, Tara Devi shot into the limelight as a result of her sincerity for bringing about a positive change in her village during the 10 years when she was elected as Sarpanch twice. By participating in the SGRPR, she has got the crucial handholding
support for her work.

Dalit woman Sarpanch has successfully utilised her knowledge by promoting and fostering gram sabha on gender issues. She has also received support from the women community-based organisations of the area and is mobilising the villagers with the support of these groups to participate in the gram sabha meetings.

Tara Devi’s sustained and consistent efforts made an impact on the local community and facilitated the process to incl­ude gender issues on the planning agenda. She also started regular inspections of the local health sub-centre which was earlier devoid of proper infrastructure, furniture, equipment, medicine, etc and constructed the new building by
involving VHSC members.

In yet another significant step, Tara Devi improved the condition of the anganwadi centre and made arrangements for water and power with the help of the SMMS. She visits the centre regularly and checks the quality of food served to children. The sarpanch has also taken steps to enhance the standard of girls’ education in the village and improve the arrangements for drinking water.

Depicting her concern over immunisation and health check-ups of pregnant women, Tara Devi makes arrangements for delivery and has organised several blood donation camps. She is accessible to the women in need and is available for any kind help. Recently, she saved an anaemic woman referred to the hospital by the sub-centre in a critical condition by arra­nging blood for her. She has invested Rs 47.15 lakhs in the Indira Awas Yojana and Rs 3.85 crore for construction works in the village and strengthened the gram sabha by ensuring people’s participation in the decision-making process.

Tyagi says that the sarpanch has ensu­red coordination among gram panchayat, gram sabha and the upper tier
of pancha­yat samiti.

As a result of Tara Devi’s sustained efforts, the child sex ratio has significantly improved in Samerdha Nosera with a recent survey revealing the figures of 1,014 females against 982 males. The instances of maternal and
infant mortality have come to an end and there is no case of girl child dropout from schools. Two new auxiliary nurse midwives appointed in the village now regularly visit the area. There is need to trust the abilities
of women belon­ging to marginalised communities and give them a little bit of support and opportunity.
With this appro­ach, a number of Tara Devi’s hidden behi­nd veils may appe­ar in the mainstream development
discourse and make a big difference, says Tyagi.

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