Skewed Sex Ratios, Conditional Cash Transfers and Promotion of Girl Children: The Indian Experience

T.V. Sekher, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Introduction of many Conditional Cash Transfer schemes (CCTs) in Indian context during the last decade is a governmental response to the problem of “missing girls”, as reflected in the skewed sex ratio. Through the provision of financial incentives to poor families following the fulfillment of certain verifiable conditions, CCTs seek to provide short-term income support and promote long-term behavioral changes. This study relies heavily on the interactions with officials, NGOs and the analysis of available data of fourteen select schemes across the states in India designed exclusively for the promotion of girl children. The study discovered that the promise of cash transfers ensured birth registration, immunization, school enrolment and retention, and delayed age of marriage of girls. Though CCTs offer governments the scope to discriminate in favor of girls, it is not clear how far CCTs have led to a change in parental attitudes and preferences towards daughters.

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Presented in Session 111: Interplay of Demographic Change, Public Policy, and Economic Outcomes in LDCs