Laadli Laxmi is regressive; not progressive

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
08 April 2012 14:12 IST

One among the few schemes, which is close to the heart of chief minister Manohar Parrikar, is the Laadli Laxmi scheme.  He has designed the scheme in order to discourage the practice of female foeticide – killing of a girl child in the womb. It is true that the matter requires immediate remedial measures. Because the proportion of females has reduced drastically in the last 50 years. A shameful act of the so called educated society of Goa, having one of the highest literacy rates in the country.

At the time of liberation, the sex ratio was 1068 females to 1000 males. The women outnumbered men in 1960 census. Today, as per 2011 census, it has reduced to 968. The child census of 2011, between 0 to 6 years, is much more frightening. It has reduced to 919. Unfortunately, the ‘murder’ of girl child in the womb is more rampant among the so called educated class, in collision with educated doctors. It is brutal and thus more serious.

Parrikar has thus found a solution – Laadli Laxmi census. It provides Rs one lakh to every girl child for her wedding ceremony, in order to overcome her financial difficulty. He also hopes this scheme would discourage the practice of killing the girl child. Rs 150 crore has been provided in the budget, probably to cater 15,000 marriages in a year. The scheme runs across the whole Goan society, without any income limit.

The intention is good and even genuine. But, unfortunately, the scheme does not match the genuine intention.

Firstly, financing the grown up girl (above 18) has no direct connection to the female fetus in the womb. It does not benefit today’s ‘expecting’ mother. It only creates confidence in the minds of a pregnant mother that the government would also help her child when she grows up. But what is the guarantee that the scheme would continue till today’s female fetus turns adult, after 18 years? What if the government changes its mind and scraps the scheme?

There is a reason to doubt. Parrikar himself has scrapped two schemes of the past government, relating to same issues. Former chief minister Digambar Kamat, in his last budget, had floated two schemes. One was Dhanlaxmi, depositing Rs 25,000 as Fixed Deposit, the minute a girl child is born, to be withdrawn only when the girl becomes 18. She could get over Rs one lakh at the time of maturing the FD. Rather than giving Rs one lakh at the age of 18 as per Parrikar’s Laadli Laxmi scheme, Dhanlaxmi scheme was giving direct benefit to the parent giving birth to the girl child. It could thus discourage female foeticide – killing of the girl child in the womb.

If Parrikar wanted to give more financial benefit and cater it to all, he could have very well lifted the income limit and could even increase the amount to Rs one lakh. At the age of 18, the girl child could get over Rs four lakh. But, he has simply scrapped it. Instead, his new scheme gives benefit to the girls, who are already born. In no way it can reduce the amount of female foeticide, at least for the next 18 years.  Because neither parents nor the girl child in the womb benefits from it.

The second scheme of Digambar Kamat was Kanyadan, of giving Rs 25,000 at the time of the marriage of the girl. But it was limited to those having annual income of less than Rs one lakh. In fact Laadli Laxmi is an improvised version of the same scheme, where the amount is increased to Rs one lakh and there is no income limit. Around 5000 parents had already benefited from both the schemes of Digambar Kamat till date. Parrikar now plans to extend it to around 15,000 parents. But this scheme has no direct relation with unborn girl child in the womb. Nobody can even imagine whether the Laadli Laxmi scheme would exist when the girl child born today would become adult after 18 years.

In fact, in reality, both Kanyadan scheme of Digambar Kamat and Laadli Laxmi scheme of Manohar Parrikar glorify marriage of a girl. Why do we need more money to get our daughter married and not the son? What is it related to? Dowry? Gold ornaments? Or helplessness of the parent having a daughter? Isn’t it glorification of an anti-social and irrational tradition of looking at daughter’s marriage as a burden? Isn’t it the responsibility of any progressive government and any progressive society to completely eliminate such traditions that spreads gender inequality? What measures the government has thought of to eliminate such harmful traditions and establish gender equality? Nothing!!

Shankaracharya, once while in Goa, had publicly lauded the Muslim community for having not a single incident of female foeticide. The story he told was also quite interesting. The Muslim community all over the world was killing even the born girl child in a most brutal manner. But Prophet Mohammad changed the whole scenario. He told them that the door of heaven opens for the parents if a girl is born in the house. More the number of girls and more wide opens the door to heaven. Since then, birth of a girl child is a celebration in every Muslim house.

What thus Goan society needs is to change the traditional mindset of our educated lot and the perception to look at the birth of a girl child. We need to develop a society which would treat both the male and the female on par. The glorification of a costly wedding ceremony needs to be changed drastically. No girl in the society should be looked upon as a ‘burden’. The government thus needs to chalk out a roadmap – short term as well as long term, to change the whole outlook of the society. And definitely not direct or indirect glorification of girl’s marriage through such schemes like Kanyadan or Laadli Laxmi.

Will the government rethink over it?

Blogger's Profile

Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.

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Previous Comments

My opinion is different. Goa is far more developed then the other states. Here the literacy rate second highest after kerala. People here are educated enough. Goa is the only state in India which follows the Uniform Civil Code. Here Son & Daughter are treated equally in most homes.

Ladli laxmi scheme wont give rise to incidents of dowry. If you are a goan, you might know how grand most goan weddings are. There are rarely any registered marriages. You have to incur cost on highering a hall, decoration, buffet, etc. So this 1 Lakh rupees will provide a relief to many goan parents who cannot afford to bare such expenditure.

Please Stop Thinking Soo much Negative.

- Chandani, Porvorim | 30 th April 2012 11:39

 

"GOD" and "RELIGION" mostly used by politicians.

if the word "GOD" is removed from mind every problem will be solved and 60 to 70% people will be with no work.Please do not encourage "dowry". In fact there is no difference between male and female... these are the two equally important sections of human. As far as wedding is concern there is no expenditure except the "Registration cost". Alas! It is not possible in this formally educated but informally and socially illiterate society.

- Vikas, Panaji | 26 th April 2012 08:55

 

There can be no correlation between the Laadli Laxmi and female foeticide. At the most, it can be viewed as a recognition for girl child. The scheme is a image booster for the new government. I cannot read social benefits in terms of salutary effect on killing of the female fetus. This scheme cannot act as a speedbreaker on the highway of the inhuman crime perpetrated by educated classes and "castes".

The Chief Minister should keep the budget allotment intact and devise schemes to enable benefits to the new girl-child upto the age of 18. Later, any child is self-sufficient and self-empowered.

Of course, put criteria of backwardness----economic and educational. Keep the educated out.

Actually, education is the only way to attack such wrongs. However, we are caught up in the net of the formally educated but informally and socially illiterate youth and families. Stay away from such educated criminals!

- Prabhakar Timble, Margao | 09 th April 2012 20:55

 

There are several issues the scheme raises.

I will restrict to posing a simple question. Today there is an unemployment problem. If one pays a bribe, a job is assured. Will the government make a scheme to enable people to pay bribes to get a job or will it work towards curbing corruption? Zero tolerance is what the government promised

Similarly, to get married, dowry is demanded or expected from a girl. Why then does the government not have the same zero tolerance for dowry?

Dowry is as wrong as a bribe ,infact, far worse, as it is accompanied by human rights violation.

The greed does not stop with the marriage ceremony.It continues much after for years with untold violence against women and children . Do we continue to pay bribes for our security and peace and ensure lesser girl children OR DO WE FIGHT DOWRY?

Bailancho Saad has asked for delinking of the Kanya Daan/Ladli Lakshmi scheme from marriages. Budgetary allocations for govt systems to curb crimes against women

The progressives fight the wrong.The Regressive s support the wrongs.

The government has chosen to be regressive to be populist.

It is heartening to note that there are good many progressive vocal voices in our society who contribute to the much needed debate and awareness.

- Sabina Martins, Panjim | 09 th April 2012 01:24

 

I beg to differ with why Prophet Mohammad and why female infanticide is practised, at least in India. My reasoning:

1. Prophet Mohammad's and as was some years ago, Shankaracharya's intention was a call to increase the tribe. By killing the females at any time, we reduce also the number of tribe since it is only a woman that produces the human beings. Hence, the idea of mother Godesses in many cultures of the world as well, especially in old times since a plague or a small pox could reduce populations by hundreds of thousands.

2. Today, not just Goans but all over India, female infanticide is practicised due to patriarchal and male chauvinistic practice that only the male child carries forward the family name and a girl child goes to another family hence money spent on it is wasted(?). This is aggrandizement of family name and fotunes as if it is some holy sacramant. Remember, in Ramayana and Mahabharata Ram and Krishna are identified by patriarchal lineages.

- Kalidas Laxman, Panaji-Goa | 08 th April 2012 18:01

 

I really can't say about 'progressive' part but it is not regressive.

Simple reason is that it is not meant for changing views of a girl child. but to help (at least ) parents to cope with the existing system . Well this is not a solution. But I wonder whether any government can find solution. We have to . Ages have passed with this system. We at least need one or two centuries. Till then these are some of the things to reduce the pain like giving morphine to a cancer affected person in the last stage.

- anand masur, madgao | 08 th April 2012 15:19

 

Not Government. Its time for society to change their mindset.

Instead of bringing home loads of gold by seconding the BRIDE;

bring home a daughter who will be your PRIDE.

- Anjali Sushil, Kuwait | 08 th April 2012 14:57

 

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