Families offered cash to bring up girls
INDIA is offering poor families nearly £1500 to raise their daughters and discourage the widespread practice of aborting the female foetus, which has skewed the gender balance in parts of the country.
Many families prefer boys, as future breadwinners, to girls, on whom dowries have to be spent to find husbands.
According to a study in the British medical journal, the Lancet, about 10 million female foetuses may have been aborted in India over the past 20 years after illegal sex determination tests.
The government hopes a cash incentive will change that.
“We will pay the money in stages and monitor how they are brought up,” said Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury.
The government will pay 15,500 rupees (£192) to poor families in phases, with a lump sum of 100,000 rupees when the girl is 18.
Chowdhury said the project would be rolled out in seven states where girls face the most acute discrimination: “We think this will force the families to look upon the girl as an asset rather than a liability and will certainly help us save the girl child.”
In the 2001 census, India’s gender ratio is 933 females to 1000 males.–Reuters