Chandigarh, 21 July-The Haryana government today launched the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao: Call to Action” initiative, reconfirming its commitment to saving and educating its daughters. The Haryana Chief Minister Shri Manohar Lal, U.S. Ambassador to India, Mr. Richard Verma, Country Representative of UNICEF, Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, and renowned Bollywood actress, Parineeti Chopra helped inaugurate the important state-level initiative. The initiative promotes the survival, protection, education and empowerment of the girl child.
The state government also appointed Parineeti Chopra as the brand ambassador of the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign. To ensure the active participation of the private sector in the initiative, the state signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI).
The event opened with a traditional welcome by the daughters of Haryana, followed by a Kuan Pujan ceremonypromoting the celebration of the birth of a girl.Theceremony is traditionally only held when a son is born.
Addressing the large gathering, Haryana Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Lal said, “His government has started the process to set up a nutrition commission and formulate a state nutrition policy to redress the issue of malnutrition among children. My vision of Haryana is of a state where all communities live in an environment where girls and women are empowered and enjoy equal rights as citizens. For this movement to be successful, everyone has a role to play - my government, media, private sector, civil society, academia, and most of all parents and families. I am very happy that USAID, UNICEF, and the private sector have come forward to promote health, education, nutrition, and the development of girls and women.”
U.S. Ambassador to India Mr. Richard R. Verma said, “I would like to congratulate Haryana Chief Minister Mr. MahoharLal for initiating today’s Call to Action to save and educate the daughters of the state. Haryana’s efforts to promote the health, education, and development of women and girls are worthy of recognition.The United States is eager to partner with India and Haryana in support of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’s goals. I am delighted to see leadership from corporations and industry joining us for today’s eventand supporting the cause through public-private partnerships. ”
In her opening address, Mrs. Kavita Jain, Minister for Women and Child Development, Government of Haryana said, “The Government of Haryana is committed to ensuring the birth, survival, protection, education, and empowerment of girl child in the state. As the nodal agency, my department’s key priorities include - improving the health and nutritional status of girls, prevention of sexual offences against women and girls, ensuring education of the girl child.”
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’s brand ambassador Ms. Parineeti Chopra said, “I believe that women in Haryana have suffered discrimination and struggled against patriarchy for centuries. If my presence and face can help in changing the fate of some girls and can build awareness in favour of girls, I would be gratified. Haryana holds a special place in my life as I have grown up and spent my childhood in Ambala. And I hope to do a lot more for the campaign in the future.”
Thirty stalls at the event highlighted various schemes undertaken by the Haryana government and NGOs promoting the girl child. Among them was one representing a traditional Haryana village and one where participants took a ‘selfie with daughter’ in honour of the Prime Minister Modi’s social media campaign.
Earlier in the day, the state government issued new guidelines for stricter implementation of existing laws to prevent the sex determination of fetuses and ensuring proper and safe education facilities for girls.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Indrani’s Light Foundation (ILF) and Population Services International (PSI) will assist the Haryana government in implementingthe initiative, which is aligned with the national campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Panipat in Haryana earlier this year.