New Delhi, Jan 24: Every year, January 24 is celebrated as National Girl Child Day to offer support and new opportunities to the girls and discourage sex selection. The day is also celebrated to increase awareness about inequalities faced by girls and women in terms of education, healthcare, nutrition, legal rights, protection, and honour. The initiative to celebrate National Girl Child Day was initiated by the Government of India as a development mission. (Also Read: I Did it Like a Girl, Not Like a Boy!)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee took to Twitter to extend her wishes to all Kanyashree girls on the occasion of National Girl Child Day 2018. “Today is the National Girl Child Day. We are proud of our Kanyashree girls. Our scheme for the girl child is an international model now. My best wishes to all,” Banerjee wrote.

NATIONAL GIRL CHILD DAY: OBJECTIVES

1. The National Girl Child Day is celebrated to increase awareness about inequalities faced by girls in the Indian society and remove them.

2. To ensure every girl child gets proper respect and value in the society.

3. To increase participation against diminishing girl child sex ratio in India and to change the Indian society’s mindset about having a girl child.

4. To spread awareness about the role of the girl child.

5. To address inequalities and difficulties faced by the girl child.

6. To spread gender equality among people in India and breaking myths and stereotypes around gender.

FACTS

The 2001 Indian census found that overall there are 927 girls for every 1,000 boys. About 300,000 girls go “missing” in India each year.

According to 2001 Census, in Punjab, the sex ratio (zero-six age group) declined from 875 to 793 (a decrease of 82 points), in Haryana from 879 to 820 (-59 points) in Himachal Pradesh from 951 to 897 (-54 points), in Gujarat from 928 to 878 (-50 points), in Chandigarh from 899 to 845 (-54 points) and in Delhi from 915 to 865 (-50 points).

Children as young as 7-8 years of age start working for long hours during the day when they should have actually been in school enjoying their right to education.

There is also a growth in the numbers of girls being trafficked for sex work. The Government of India signed the Trafficking Protocol on 12 December 2002.

The infant mortality rate, neo-natal mortality rate, incidence of low birth weight babies, maternal morbidity and mortality etc are all much higher when the mother is an adolescent compared if the mother was older than 21 years of age

Inputs from National Commission For Protection of Child Rights.