In an effort to stem the number of abortions happening in their country, the Indian government plans to give cash incentives to the families of baby girls.
Staggered payments would be made to families to “encourage them for better upbringing of girl child and to educate her”, women and child development minister Renuka Chowdhury said in a statement released late Monday.
India has only 927 females for every 1,000 males — far lower than the worldwide average of 1,050 females.
According to UNICEF, India continues to lose almost 7,000 girls every day through abortions. The British medical journal, The Lancet, estimates the loss of females at 10 million in the past two decades.
Sons, in India, are typically regarded as breadwinners, but girls are seen as more of a burden because of the matrimonial dowry demanded by a groom’s family.
Under the scheme, a girl’s family will get financial benefits — including insurance cover — worth 200,000 rupees (5,000 dollars) until the age of 18 if she is sent to school and is not married young.