The Centre has spent a total of Rs 351.55 crores on media campaign for the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme which was 63.3 per cent of the total expenditure of Rs 555.27 crores from the financial year 2016-17 to 2019-20.
“In the initial phase, the emphasis has been on media and advocacy for sustained focus on awareness generation and bringing an attitudinal shift in society towards valuing the girl child,” Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani informed the Rajya Sabha on December 7.
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government on January 22, 2015.
As per the data shared by the minister, Rs 135.92 crores of the total expenditure in the financial year 2017-18 and Rs 164.04 crores in 2018-19 was spent for media advocacy campaigns, the highest since the scheme was introduced.
Meanwhile from 2019, the expenditure on media/ advocacy campaigns started reducing, while Rs 25.75 crores spent in 2019-20, the government did not spend any money on media campaigns from 2021-22 to 2022-23.
The Committee finds that out of a total of ₹446.72 crore released during the period 2016- 2019, a whopping 78.91% was spent only on media advocacy,” said the report.
It adds, “over the last six years, through focussed 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.”
The Committee is chaired by Heena Vijaykumar Gavit and the report is titled ‘Empowerment of Women through education with special reference to Beti Bachao Beti Padhao ’.
It was tabled in Lok Sabha on Thursday. The Beti Bachao scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2015 with the aim to address sex selective abortion and the declining child sex ratio which was at 918 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2011. The programme is being implemented across 405 districts in the country.
Now, the government is focusing on expanding the scheme to all the districts through multi-sectoral interventions with focus on zero-budget advertising.
“For better implementation and monitoring of the scheme, funds for Multi Sectoral Intervention are being released through the State/UT Government for activities at district level,” Ms Irani stated.
The ministry has also developed a thematic calendar for suggested convergence activities at district level with month wise specific themes for holistic development of the girl child, she said.
The total utilisation under the scheme was also poor – the Committee found that since the inception
From financial year 2014-15 to 2022-23, out of Rs 1,270 crores spent for the scheme, a total of Rs 401.04 crores spent for the media/ advocacy campaign and Rs 373.21 crores used for multi sectoral programmes, the data mentioned. According to the minister, “the all India advertisements of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao have successfully been able to establish the brand which has an excellent recall value.”
BBBP in 2014-15 till 2019-20, the total Budgetary allocation under the scheme was ₹848 crore, excluding the COVID-stricken financial year of 2020-21.
During this period, an amount of ₹622.48 crore was released to the States but only 25.13% of the funds, i.e. ₹156.46 crore, have been spent by the States and Union Territories.
According to the implementation guidelines of the scheme on the website of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, there are two key components of BBBP.
These include advocacy and media campaign – radio spots or jingles in Hindi and regional languages, television publicity, outdoor and print media, community engagement through mobile exhibition vans, SMS campaigns, brochures, etc- and multi-sectoral intervention in selected gender critical districts that perform poorly with respect to child sex ratio.
The Committee noted that the massive spend on advertisements was despite the clearly laid down formula for utilisation of funds – ₹50 lakh per year is earmarked for a district for utilisation under six different components.
Of this, 16% of funds are for inter-sectoral consultation or capacity building, 50% for innovation or awareness generation activities, 6% for monitoring and evaluation, 10% for sectoral interventions in health, 10% for sectoral interventions in education and 8% as flexi funds.