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Indian community to pay parents of baby girls to stop killings

The amount of 5,000 Indian rupees (Dh330) will be deposited in each account for families of the Ghanci community in Jodhpur city following concerns over the high rates of female foeticide and infanticide.

JODHPUR // Concern over the high rates of female foeticide and infanticide in the state of Rajasthan has prompted a community to open a bank account with a deposit for every newborn girl.

The amount of 5,000 Indian rupees (Dh330) will be deposited in each account for families of the Ghanci community in Jodhpur city, about 350 kilometres from the northern state capital of Jaipur.

"It will provide financial security to the girl's family members," said Rajendra Bhati, the general secretary of Ghanchi Mahasabha.

The move aims to ease the financial burden on families when a girl is married, since even the poorest families often get into debt when arranging marriages and having to pay elaborate dowries to their daughter's new family.

"Cases of female foeticide and infanticide are quite rampant in the area. The major reason behind the evil practice is that the families think girls cause financial burden till marriage," Mr Bhati said.

He said the money would be collected through donations and non-government organisations.

Rajasthan, as in much of India, continues to battle a declining male-female child-sex ratio because of female foeticide and infanticide, especially in rural areas.

An infant girl was found recently near bushes by a road in Chittorgarh. Some passers-by noticed the baby and called the police.

"Those who dumped her had placed a stone on her [that caused injuries]. The girl is undergoing treatment at a hospital," said a police officer.

According to the 2011 census in India, Rajasthan has 883 girls under the age of six for every 1,000 boys. That's down from 909 girls in 2001.

Alarmed over the skewed sex ratio, the state's government recently announced steps to curb prenatal sex-determination tests at ultrasound clinics.

The steps include increasing the number of health-department inspection teams and equipping them with devices such as hidden cameras and voice recorders.

The state government has also increased the amount of money given to a person who complains about errant ultrasound clinics.