THE economic indicators of Haryana, among the fastest growing states, are as appreciable as they are enviable. The representation of its men, and women — in what is a strange, but sweet irony — in sports and defence services is outstanding. The only spot of trouble, and one that brought the state ignominy, has been its tipped sex ratio, at 879. But in what is a heartening spin, 20 villages in Sonepat district have heralded a change, with a striking turnaround in the ratio, recording an equal, or more number of females per 1,000 males. Can it be that the patriarchal giant is, finally, waking up to the wind of change?
Purkhas in the district is leading the honour roll with 1,327 females to 1,000 males. Malikpur village is a close second at 1,304 — impressive numbers that call for a close and detailed study, so the practice(s) may be replicated in other districts and states combating a diminishing ratio. The sample size should be factored in, since some of the villages are small. The transformation is being attributed to a steady crackdown on sex-determination kits and test rackets, safe delivery arrangements, cent per cent registration of newborns and awareness against foeticide. The health authorities have announced a Rs 1.5-lakh award for the district: a small token that will, hopefully, go a long way. The amount can be pumped back into the initiatives.
The credit, without doubt, goes to welfare programmes like Ladli, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, ‘Apni Beti, Apna Dhan’ — promoted and sustained over long years by the government. The credit must also go where it is due. The ceaseless efforts would have come to naught had they not caught the imagination of the people. The real hero, therefore, is the common man, and woman of the state, who believed it was time for social change, giving the unborn girl child, first and foremost, a chance at life itself. Now that Sonepat district has shown the way, there should be no let-up in the big push. The gust must flow with gusto, blowing away the old ways, so Haryana may reset its social equilibrium.