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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: With the Niti Aayog's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Index 2019-20 showing a dip in sex ratio at birth, the Odisha government has recently brought all 30 districts under the Modi Government's flagship scheme Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP).

As per the SDG- Index 2019-20 released recently, the sex ratio at birth in Odisha in 2019 dipped to 938 from 948 in 2018, which means in year 2019, 938 baby girls were born to every 1000 male child. The State is lagging behind all its neighbouring states (West Bengal, Chhattisgarh & Andhra Pradesh), except Jharkhand.

Under BBBP, Odisha had received over Rs 31.8 lakh in 2017-18 to implement the intervention programme in the 14 districts. While Nayagarh was included under the BBBP since 2015-16, 14 other districts were included in 2018-19. The State government has recently included the remaining 15 districts under the BBBP.

Why Odisha government extended BBBP to 30 districts? Nayagarh had a CSR of 855 in 2011 and the ratio in 2019 stands at 827, despite BBBP is in force since 2015-16 in the district. The CSR in the district in 2001 census was 904.

A similar trend is witnessed in 13 other districts in the State. The sex ratio at birth has shown a fall in Bargarh, Boudh, Bhadrak, Deogarh, Gajapati, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Keonjhar, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Puri, Rayagada, Sambalpur and Sonepur. All these districts have a sex ratio at birth below that of the 2011 numbers.

As per latest data available with the State Health Department, Puri, the pilgrim town, with a sex ratio at birth of 904 females per 1000 male infants has fared the second poorest in the State. The CSR was 932 in the district in 2011.

A region-wise glance shows that of nine coastal districts, only three districts Ganjam, Cuttack and Kendrapara have shown an upward trend in sex ratio at birth.

Three districts in southern region, namely, Gajapati, Malkangiri and Rayagada posted a fall in sex ratio at birth in 2019. Similarly, of a total ten western districts, five districts like Bargarh, Boudh, Deogarh, Sambalpur and Sonepur had recorded a decline in the gender ratio at birth.

The BBBP scheme has two components - multi-sectoral intervention and media advocacy outreach activities.

Multi-sectoral intervention and media advocacy activities will be carried in Nayagarh, Dhenkanal, Angul, Ganjam, Cuttack, Khurda, Deogarh, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Bhadrak, Balasore and Kalahandi.

In contrast, districts, namely, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Sonepur, Balangir, Bargarh, Mayurbhanj, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Keonjhar, Gajapati, Boudh, Koraput, Nuapada, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur will see only media advocacy and outreach activities.

Meanwhile, in order to implement and monitor the scheme, District Child Protection Officers (DCPOs) were appointed as nodal officers for BBBP scheme.

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