Historically, India has been one of the first countries to identify the Girl Child as the focus of attention for improving the overall social and economic status of women.
The Balika Samriddhi Yojana in 1997 is one of the most important initiatives of the Government to raise overall status of the girl child. The Yojana aims to change family and community attitudes towards both, the girl child and the mother.
A series of incentives were included in the Yojana, including the likes of a gift of Rs. 500/- to the mother on delivery of a baby girl and the provision of an annual scholarship for the girl, with the overall aim of improving enrolment and retention of girls in school.
In another major initiative, in 2005, the Government of India also announced free and reduced cost education for girls. Those with two girls and no other children were promised discounts of up to 50%. The program also offered fellowships of US$ 45 per month for those undertaking post-graduate studies.
Various State Governments have formulated State Plans of Action for Girl Child, appropriate to the condition prevailing in each state, prominently including Governments of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Goa.
Adding on, the Government had also set up policies like the National Nutrition Policy (1993), which recognizes the stage of adolescence as a special period for a multi-sectoral nutrition intervention for the females.
To ensure effective implementation of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, a Central Supervisory Board was also set-up under the chairpersonship of the Minister-in-charge of Health and Family Welfare.
Furthermore, the National Policy on Education (1986) was formulated to address the question of setting right the traditional gender imbalances in education, making a strong commitment in favor of education for women’s equality.
A recent news story also reported a unique campaign being carried out by over 200 people across five northern and western states of India, under the leadership of the well-known religious leader and social activist, Swami Agnivesh.
Chief Minister of Haryana (India), Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hudda, also lauded the consistent efforts of Swami Agnivesh in the Campaign Against Female Foeticide and pledged to extend all possible infrastructural support and assistance.
Other beneficial schemes include the Adolescent Girls Scheme, the Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme, the Universal Immunization Programme, special health check up schemes for primary school students, introduction of health cards in selected areas, evaluation of health programmes, the Mid-day Meal Scheme for primary school children and nutrition education.
Reports also indicate that the government aims to eliminate all forms of child labor by 2020.