Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Even as Odisha's sex ratio at birth (SRB) posted a rise in 2018-19, the SRB has been less than that of 2015-16. For which, neither Odisha nor any of its districts had been selected in the country's top-5 states and top -20 districts under Modi government's flagship scheme of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP).

As per the data released by the Union Women and Child Welfare ministry, Odisha's SRB in 2018-19 has been 941 vis-a-vis of 943 in 2015-16. The SRB for the State saw a decline for two consecutive years of 2016-18, when the SRB was estimated at 940 and 936, respectively.

Odisha now figures among nine such states/UTs that have SRB lower than half-a-decade back. The states/UTs are: Arunachal Pradesh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Puduchhery, Sikkim and Telangana.

However, despite a fall in overall SRB, Arunachal Pradesh's East Kameng district was awarded today by Union WCD Minister Smriti Irani at New Delhi as one among the top - ten performing districts in the country.

As per a case study, it has been observed that top 20 districts chosen for award by the Union W&CD ministry has not only increased SRB but were able to record lower crime rate against girl child, courtesy intensive campaign and programmes for the girl children.

The top performer districts in the country are: East Kameng (AP), Mahendragarh (Haryana), Uddhamnagar (Uttarakhand), Namakkal (TN), Bhiwani (Haryana), Etawah (UP), Raigarh (Chhattisgarh), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Tirunelveli (TN), Ahmedabad, Mandi (HP), Gadag (Karnataka), Khistwar (J&K), Shimla (HP), Farukkhabad (UP), Sirmour (HP), Nagaur (Rajasthan) and Wokha (Nagaland).

This analysis sounds significant for Odisha, which off late has seen a sharp spurt in crime against girl child. The State Home department data even admitted of recording nearly six rapes a day against the girl child in the year 2018-19.

A look at the 2019-20 data available with the State Health department here reveals that as many as 10 districts in the State have posted a dip in SRB in 2019-20 vis-a-vis 2018-19. The districts are: Boudh, Cuttack, Khurda, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Dhenkanal, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur and Rayagada.

The list of laggard districts show surprise inclusions like Ganjam (CM Naveen Patnaik's home district),  State headquarters Khurda and State's developed district Cuttack. Interestingly, the districts failed to show any good progress, despite being included under the Modi government's BBBP scheme.

But the good news to the fore is the SRB in Nayagarh has posted a rise to touch 908 in 2019-20 from 855 in 2011 census.

Another significant fact to the fore is all the districts have coincidentally recorded a rise in crime against girl child in 2018-19. For instance, Mayurbhanj, which has posted a dip in SRB, tops the crimes against girl child and women in Odisha.

Notably, non-inclusion of any single district from Odisha in the top performers in 2018-19 comes as a shocker, when CM Naveen Patnaik has vowed to deliver a women-centric governance model.