Chandigarh, Jan 20: Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Tuesday announced that any innovative district which succeeds in attaining a balanced sex ratio would get a reward of Rs. one crore.

“The district commissioner and ambassadors of the campaign would also be suitably rewarded by the government,” Gandhi said at the inaugural session of the two-day National Thematic Workshop on ‘Woman and Child Development’ organised by the Haryana Women and Child Development Department in Panipat.

Gandhi urged state governments, district commissioners and other functionaries to work in tandem for the success of the ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao‘ programme, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally launch from Panipat Thursday, and report the innovative programmes and initiatives. ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ is the fourth initiative of the NDA-led central government after the Jan Dhan Yojna (bank accounts), Swaach Bharat Abhiyan (cleanliness) and Make in India (encourage manufacturing), the minister said.

She said Modi had announced the scheme in his Independence Day speech last year and chose Haryana to kick off the campaign as it was one of the states with a declining female sex ratio.

“One hundred districts with low female sex ratio have been selected from all over the country for the campaign. It would be extensively carried out to bring about positive psychological change in the mindset of the people towards the girl child,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi stressed the need for evolving innovative solutions to end violence and crime against women and end the dowry system which, she said, was the root cause of female foeticide.

“The notion of ‘Paraya Dhan’ must be discouraged in the society to ensure that parents do not hesitate in having a girl child. A society without women would be full of violence as women bring gentleness, love and happiness around them.” Expressing concern at nearly 46 percent children being affected by malnutrition in the country, Gandhi said out of these, about 70 percent are girls. The campaign has been supported by the Indian Oil Corporation and NGO ActionAid India.

ActionAid India’s Tanveer Kazi said: “It is encouraging to see this massive movement for gender equality and girls’ empowerment taking shape across Haryana as part of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan.“The campaigners of Beti Zindabad! extend their solidarity to this effort and welcome the move to include grassroots organisations and panchayat leaders in empowering girls and women.”