Chandigarh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the government's flagship "Beti Bachao Beti Padao" campaign - meant to stop female foeticide and help nurture the girl child - today. And he will flag off the campaign in Panipat, Haryana - the state notorious for its skewed sex ratio.
Kurukshetra is one of Haryana's 12 districts included in the list of 100 districts, where the new scheme will be launched. NDTV travelled to two villages there - one with one of the worst sex ratios in the state and one among the better ones.
Though struggling with equally poor implementation of welfare schemes and similar social norms, Lotni claims to have the third best sex ratio at birth in entire Haryana.
In the 1,500-strong village, the math, according to the state government, works out to 1909 girls per 1000 boys - when the national sex ratio is 941 girls to 1000 boys.
But the 'achievement' has not brought Lotni any benefits.
The village middle school has only one teacher for 74 students. The shortage has forced many to shift to private schools, where fees are steep. The schools do not implement the government quota of free education meant for weaker sections.
"We need more teachers. Nobody from the government has come to help us. We are given Rs 5000 for five years when a second girl is born. When the second girl turns 18 years old, the amount, roughly Rs 1 lakh, will not be enough for her marriage or higher education," says Jai Naryan, father of two girls. "If you want the Beti Bachao scheme to succeed, you will have to help girls."
Thirty km away, Haripur is one of the villages with the worst sex ratios. According to government data, it has just 250 girls to 1000 boys. Explaining the discrepancy, Gurdev Singh, a member of the village panchayat said, "These days, it takes Rs 10 lakh to get a girl married. Plus, one has to spend on their upbringing as well."
Asked about the state government's "shagun" scheme for brides, he said, "That is only for BPL people. We are not sure if the new government will continue the scheme," he added.