Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Thursday said it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative which led to the improvement of girl child ratio in the country.
"In 2014, the Prime Minister had called my Ministry (WCD) and expressed his concern over the prevailing situation of women in the country.
"There were many states and districts which were suffering from low child sex ratio. The Prime Minister had then asked us to select those districts which have the worst CSR and work at improving their status," Gandhi said while addressing an event here.
The Minister was speaking on the occasion of International Women's Day which was also attended by Modi to launch the pan expansion of his flagship programme "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao" scheme in 640 districts.
The 2011 census had shown significant declining trend in the child sex ratio (CSR), with 918 girls per 1,000 boys in the age group of 0-6 years. The CSR had declined from 976 in 1961 to 918 in 2011.
Out of the 640 districts, CSR had declined in 429 districts while 244 districts were below the national average of 918.
"It was not an easy task. For achieving the target we had to change the approach and perception of people. We started off work with the District Magistrates and Collectors and got the people in the area involved," she added.
The scheme which is a tri-ministerial, convergent effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare and Human Resource Development was initially launched in selected 161 districts which were low on CSR.
"We had to keep a check on the hospitals and nursing institutes over illegal ultra-sonography. The ratio started improving simultaneously. Within three years, these districts have shown remarkable improvement and the ratio is now more than 900," the minister said.
In Phase-1 (2014-15), the scheme was started with 100 districts and got expanded to 61 additional districts in Phase-II (2015-16).
"The scheme has been received well and has been successful in establishing the improvement in Child Sex Ratio as a national agenda. It has resulted in increased awareness, sensitisation and conscious building around the issue of declining CSR in the public domain," the WCD ministry said in a statement.