According to the Parliamentary Committee on Women’s Empowerment, the government spent a whopping 80% of the funding under its flagship Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) plan on media campaigns, and now has to reconsider this approach and invest in measurable outcomes in health and education for girls.
According to the research, “a massive 78.91 percent of a total of 446.72 crore disbursed for the period 2016–2019 was spent primarily on media campaigning.” Over the past six years, BBBP has been able to attract the attention of political leadership and public conscience towards valuing the girl child via focused advocacy, it adds. Now is the time to concentrate on other verticals by establishing enough budgetary arrangements to assist in achieving the scheme’s demonstrable goals in education and health.
The study is titled ‘Empowerment of Women through Education with Special Reference to Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” and is headed by Heena Vijaykumar Gavit. On Thursday, it was introduced in the Lok Sabha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Beti Bachao scheme in January 2015, with the goal of addressing sex-selective abortion and the falling child sex ratio, which was 918 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2011. The initiative is being carried out in 405 districts throughout the country.
The overall use of the scheme was also low: the Committee discovered that the entire budgetary allocation under the scheme was ₹848 crore from 2014-15 to 2019-20, excluding the COVID-affected financial year of 2020–21. During this time, the States received a total of 622.48 crore. However, only 25.13% of the money, or 156.46 crore, was spent by the States and Union Territories.
According to the scheme’s implementation instructions on the Ministry of Women and Child Development’s website, BBBP has two major components. Advocacy and media campaigns – radio spots or jingles in Hindi and regional languages, television publicity, outdoor and print media, community engagement through mobile exhibition vans, SMS campaigns, brochures, and multi-sectoral intervention in selected gender-critical districts that perform poorly in terms of child sex ratio – and multi-sectoral intervention in selected gender-critical districts that perform poorly in terms of child sex ratio.
Despite a clearly spelled out mechanism for using funds—a district is allocated ₹50 lakh per year for use under six distinct components—the Committee highlighted that a significant amount of money was spent on marketing. 16% of funding is for inter-sectoral dialogue or capacity development, 50% is for innovation or awareness generating activities, 6% is for monitoring and evaluation, 10% is for health sector interventions, 10% is for education sector interventions, and 8% is flexi funds.
Source: The Hindu