Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Essay on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao for UPSC

Essay on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao for UPSC

"A girl child is a daughter, a friend; a sister, a wife, and a mother when you kill her kill many others too." - Dr. Md. Usmangani Ansari

 Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
Since times immemorial, girls have been the victims of the mindset of a patriarchal society. They have been stripped of the basic amenities that would help them develop as an individual, both mentally and physically. Education plays a crucial role in nurturing an individual's potential and converting it into skills that can be used as a weapon to change the world. However, in order to be the benefactors of an educational qualification, girls must reach the stage to avail that education. This is one of the main issues plaguing our nation as the other half of society is severely neglected. Girls are subjected to a number of atrocities, even before they are born. After being born, they are unaware of the fact that they have entered a misogynistic society which is full of male chauvinists. However, it would be wrong to say that the issue has not been acknowledged as conscious efforts are being made to provide quality education to girls through the implementation of a number of welfare schemes. In order to secure the future of a girl child in India, it is important to address the issue from a number of angles by understanding the state of the girl child and what she has to endure while growing up.
Traditions and rituals have undermined the role of women in bringing about change in society since centuries. It is unfortunate that students are not sent to school according to their intelligence and aptitude, but according to their gender. The question of educating a girl arises only if she is allowed to be born. The sex ratio of 2016 estimated that there are 944 females per 1000 males. Even though the country has experienced an upward trend, a lot needs to be achieved.
Primitive thinking still prevails as the practices of female feticide and female infanticide are on the rise. Even with the government banning the practice of prenatal sex determination, the practice of selective abortion has not stopped. Girls are not given an equal chance to prove themselves. The journey of a girl child from her mother's womb to be becoming a responsible and independent adult is full of hardships, difficulties and obstacles. Girls are often viewed as a liability to parents because it is assumed marriage, she will not contribute to them financially. Here girls required to be saved from primitive thought process and atrocity of social phenomena.
Apart from this, girls are often malnourished, especially in poor households where the parent chooses who is entitled to get better nourishment. They are often the targets of discrimination. India has the world's largest gender survival gap. Indian girls are 61% more likely than boys to die between the ages of 1 and 5. So, for every five boys who die, eight girls die. The report attributes this widening gender gap to girls getting much less healthcare than boys. Girls are often brought to healthcare facilities when the illness is in an advanced stage. They are also taken to less qualified doctors than male children. This attitude clearly highlights the gender gap that exists in society. Here she deserves more than the male child for protection to make family, society and the nation progressive.
Even if the girl child does not become a victim of female feticide or female infanticide, she undergoes a lot of hardships and difficulties as she grows up. Practices like polygamy, child marriage, trafficking, male inheritance, honor crimes and domestic violence still exist in society. Dowry related deaths have increased as women are subjected to an increased amount of mental and physical harassment by their in-laws so they can extort as much money as possible. Since 2012, there have been 24,771 dowry related deaths in India. Not only this, India has the highest number of child brides in the world. It is estimated that 47% of girls in India are married before their 18th birthday. India has more than 4.5 lakh girls under 15 years of age who are married with children. Even after getting married, girls become the victims of domestic violence. There are domestic violence laws in India but its strict implementation by the executive is required. However, one of the biggest obstacles being faced by the girl child is that she is denied the right to get educated. This is one of the biggest factors hampering her development in the long run. A number of socio-cultural factors like the people's way of life including their attitudes, beliefs and value systems determine whether a girl is allowed to get educated or not. Rural areas are comparatively more primitive in this respect. At least a 40% of girls are not allowed to pursue higher studies, due to the conservative familial ideologies. According to the 2011 Census, only 74.04% people are literate. Out of which female literacy stands at 65.46% as compared to 82.14% male literacy. In rural areas, 4.5% males and 2.2% females completed their graduation and pursued higher education. There are schools, but most girls do not attend, often because of religious reasons or cultural pressures. Even after enrolment, the dropout rate is extremely high as girls succumb to the pressure of their family to contribute to the household and get married.
It has become crucial to understand the importance of educating the girl child in India. Right to education is deemed as a fundamental right, i.e. it is justifiable and an individual can move the courts if these are violated. Educating girls would ensure an improved quality of life, in general. Through education, she will be more aware of her rights which will make it easier for her to identify when her rights are being violated. The life or condition of women would improve drastically, if we take a broad outlook in the field of female education.
Education will make women more confident and independent in life as they can use their qualifications to earn a living. Economic empowerment is the only way to change the status of women in society and overcome the socio-economic hierarchy. It will enable women and girls to play an active role in the economic development and prosperity of our country as doctors, lawyers, engineers, astronauts, teachers, administrators, businesswomen or through any other profession of their choice.
Apart from this, education makes women and girls more aware of the importance of health and hygiene. Through health education, women will lead a healthier lifestyle and will be able to take better care of herself and her children. Women also need to take equal part in the task of poverty alleviation. This would demand a huge contribution on the part of educated women. Education forms a strong foundation for learning and critical thinking. Education enables the child to realize her full potential, to think, question and judge independently; to be a wise decision-maker, develop civic sense and learn to think their fellow human beings and to be a good citizen. It helps them to make appropriate decisions.
In light of the state of women's education in India, a number of welfare schemes have been employed by the government to ensure that education reaches all section of society, especially the girl child. The current Prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, launched the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao yojna on 22nd January, 2015 to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare schemes meant for women and address the declining child sex ratio in the country. The Mahila Samakhya program aims to empower rural women through education by pursuing the objectives of the National Policy for Education, 1986. Similarly, the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya scheme also works in rural areas to provide primary level education to girls. Apart from this, the National Program for girls at elementary level and Saakshar Bharat mission aim to bring down the level of female illiteracy.

A lot needs to be achieved in terms of education of girls in India. There needs to be more active implementation of the welfare schemes that have been adopted. Camps can be organized in rural and urban areas to educate women and enlighten them about their rights and to make them understand the scope of education. There is also a need to improve the state of health care facilities. Interactive officials need to make sure that girls are getting education in both, urban as well as rural areas. The schemes must be subject to a continuous monitoring system. The teachers must provide a progress report at the end of every month and a more comprehensive report at the end of every term. Also, the girl students must be provided with skills that employers demand. In turn it will help them to contribute in the progress of India. A lot needs to be achieved in terms of improving the state of the girl child in India. It is important to recognize the role of education in achieving this goal. Cent per cent education can only be achieved when girls are also given an equal opportunity to get educated. Each educated individual will inspire million others to get educated. The right to education is applicable to every citizen of the country, and denying it to 48% of the population is both, ethically as well as legally wrong. It is essential to replace primitive value systems that downplay a woman's abilities and restrict her to the household. Education has the power to change and transform the lives of the girl child in India and plays a key role in deciding her fate.

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