Reconsider spending on ads under ‘Beti Bachao’ scheme: Parliamentary panel tells Centre

The parliamentary standing committee said the government should instead focus on planned expenditure allocation for sectoral interventions in education and health under the government’s flagship scheme.

Reconsider spending on ads under ‘Beti Bachao’ scheme: Parliamentary panel tells Centre
The committee said according to the scheme's guidelines, regular or quarterly meetings are to be conducted to review the progress at the district level. (File photo: IE)

More than 78 per cent of total Rs 446.72 crore released during 2016-2019 for ‘ Beti Bachao Beti Padhao ‘ scheme was spent only on media advocacy, a parliamentary panel has said, suggesting that the government should reconsider spending on advertisements. The parliamentary standing committee said the government should instead focus on planned expenditure allocation for sectoral interventions in education and health under the government’s flagship scheme.

The Sixth Report of the Committee on Empowerment of Women (2021-22) on the action taken on the subject “Empowerment of Women through Education with Special Reference to ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) Scheme”, was presented in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.The panel said over the last six years, through focused advocacy BBBP has been able to capture the attention of political leadership and national consciousness towards valuing the girl child.

“Now, it is time to focus on other verticals by making ample financial provisions to help achieve measurable outcomes related to education and health envisaged under the scheme,” it said. Calling it one of the most important schemes of the government to improve child sex ratio in backward regions and ensure education of the girl child, the committee recommended that the government should, hereafter, reconsider spending on advertisements under the scheme and focus on planned expenditure allocation for sectoral interventions in education and health.

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The committee said according to the scheme’s guidelines, regular or quarterly meetings are to be conducted to review the progress at the district level. Regular process of documentation of all activities conducted at the district/block and gram panchayat level is required to be undertaken through regular reports and photographic documentation at the district level, it said.

“However, the committee finds that there is a lapse in undertaking required number of task force meetings and collecting monthly reports or statement of expenditure from districts on time. Such examples of non-compliance of the guidelines are clear indicators that the scheme is not being reviewed or monitored properly,” the committee said.

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The panel noted that regular audits and real-time updating of activities are necessary to ensure compliance. “The committee also finds that records of the activities held for information, education and communication at the state/district level with the national task force authorities are not maintained,” it said. The panel recommended that being the nodal ministry of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme, the Ministry of Women and Child Development must ensure that review meetings of national, state and district task forces are conducted as per the scheme’s guidelines.

In order to achieve better oversight, the committee said the ministry should develop without further delay the online management information system portal for monitoring and supervision at state, district, block and village level and to make available the data in the web portal for transparency and real-time monitoring. “Social audit of BBBP should compulsorily be got done either by the civil society group or third party/expert at the district level and the outcome may be communicated to this committee,” it said.

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