Faridkot, Bhag Singh Wala, Machaki Mal Singh Wala

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Faridkot, Bhag Singh Wala, Machaki Mal Singh Wala

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Reversing sex ratio: Two villages show how

By Balwant Garg, The Times of India, 10 Sep, 2006

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FARIDKOT: In Punjab, where skewed sex ratio — result of rampant female foeticide — has set alarm bells ringing all over, two villages have set a precedent by achieving a higher birth rate of girls as compared to boys.

And if Bhag Singh Wala and Machaki Mal Singh Wala, both in Faridkot district, are able to maintain their unique distinction by December end, they would get a special prize of Rs 3 lakh from the state government.

In Faridkot district, the sex ratio — 865 to 1,000 males — is still not encouraging. But a survey conducted by the department of district women and child welfare last month revealed out of 29 children born in Bhag Singh Wala village since January 2006, the number of girls was 17.

Similarly, in Machaki Mal Singh Wala village, out of total 32 children born, there were 18 girls. The ratio comes out to be 1,400 to 1,000 and 1,200 to 1,000 for the two villages respectively.

In Bhag Singh Wala, it's not for the first time that girls have outnumbered boys in terms of birth rate. In 2005, the number of girls born was 12 against 9 boys. Worried over the poor birth rate of girls in Punjab, the state government has launched various schemes to motivate villagers, to check the imbalance.

Under Balri Raksha Yojna, the state had announced a special grant of Rs 3 lakh per annum to villages where the number of new-born girls was more than boys and a fund of Rs 50 lakh.

Child development and panchayat officer Chhinder Pal Kaur told TOI that to check female foeticide, the department is keeping close tabs on all pregnant women in rural areas.

"Earlier, the department only registered new births in the villages. But now, once we know that a woman is pregnant, the department starts maintaining the case record till the time of delivery. This helps in detecting termination of a pregnancy," Kaur said.

In 2001 census, Faridkot district had registered a sex ratio of 805 to 1,000 in age group of 0-6.

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