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How Extravagant Weddings Has Denied Daughters In Punjab

The new wedding trend has now caused parents-to-be to engage in the dreadful act of sex-selective abortions as the last resort.

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  • There has been a steep decline of girl children in zero to six age-groups – down from 901 in 1961 to 846 per 1,000 boys in 2011.
  • Though dowries have long been outlawed they are now passed off as gifts from the bride’s parents and relatives.
  • Having to send them with high-priced weddings and dowry, daughters have become a liability whereas sons would inherit the land and provide some income to the family.

Glamorized by movies, the media and the wealthy diaspora overseas, weddings have become a status symbol. The new trend of weddings has made it a very costly affair. While the rich enjoys such extravaganza, some can only dream of a wedding.

A large part of Punjab remains agricultural. To pass down their lands to the coming generations, sons are preferred over daughters.

Green Revolution had an adverse impact on Punjab which forced farmers to cultivate crops that required large quantities of water. But high costs of fertilisers and acute shortage of groundwater and equipment to drill the water out landed farmers in a vicious cycle of debts.Their financial condition further pushed the patriarchal society into sex-selective abortion.

According to the dailyo article, there has been a steep decline of girl children in zero to six age-groups – down from 901 in 1961 to 846 per 1,000 boys in 2011. Women make up 47.23 per cent of Punjab’s total population, compared to 48.5 per cent at the national level. The state’s female to male sex ratio of 895 per 1,000 in 2011 is far lower than the national average of 943 in 2011.

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A farmer who is now crippled with debts and on the verge of committing suicide would prefer a son to a daughter. Having to send them with high-priced weddings and dowry, daughters have become a liability whereas sons would inherit the land and provide some income to the family.

He certainly cannot keep with what is now a trend of high-priced weddings. But for something decent as it is expected from the society, the debt-ridden father takes more loans from ruthless private lenders as it is the only option available.

In Punjab, women are largely homemakers and the state’s female workforce participation rate is 13.9 per cent whereas the national average is 25.5 per cent according to the 2011 census data. But the male participation is at 55.2 per cent as compared to 53.3 per cent at the national level.

 

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The Punjabi weddings are known for their lavishness and extravaganza. Expensive diamond jewellery, decorated elephants,  fancy gold-studded invitation cards, glittering wedding attire, imported alcohol,  famous DJs, and grand hotel receptions kind of sums up a wedding. The gifts to the bride include brand new furnished houses, acres of land and of course, cars decked with ribbons and balloons. Though dowries have long been outlawed they are now passed off as gifts from the bride’s parents and relatives.

This trend has now caused parents-to-be  to engage in the dreadful act of sex-selective abortions as the last resort.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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  • AJ Krish

    In the past, weddings were simple and yet a celebration of happiness . It was never about extravagant parties and costly gifts. People should understand how their trends are affecting the society.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    When are all these poor minded practices going to come to end? People must understand the value of a daughter!

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PM Narendra Modi Launches Plan to Tackle Water Shortage in India

Modi Unveils Plan to Tackle Water Shortages in India's Heartland States

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PM Modi
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India. VOA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a 60-billion-rupee ($842 million) plan to tackle water shortages in the country’s seven heartland states where agriculture is a mainstay.

India, the world’s second-most populous country, faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history as demand outstrips supply, threatening farm output and overall economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Almost every sector of the $2.6 trillion economy is dependent on water, especially agriculture, which sustains two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people.

“Water shortages in the country not only affect individuals and families; the crisis also has an effect on India’s development,” Modi said. “We need to prepare the new India to deal with every single aspect of the crisis.”

The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water and boost overall availability in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat states, which produce staples such as rice, wheat, sugar and oilseeds.

PM Narendra Modi
The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water. Wikimedia Commons

India is the world’s leading producer of an array of farm goods, and nearly 60% of the irrigation for agriculture comes from ground water, mainly through electric water pumps. Subsidised electricity gives farmers an incentive to pump out more water, a key reason behind fast-depleting water tables in the vast country.

Supplying clean drinking water to millions of poor people and reviving moribund irrigation projects were a key part of Modi’s policies for India, where the monsoon accounts for nearly 70% of the annual rains needed to water farms and recharge aquifers and reservoirs.

Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.

Drinking water is also an issue, as about 200,000 Indians die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and 600 million face high to extreme water stress, according to the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a think tank chaired by Modi.

According to UK-based charity WaterAid, about 163 million people in India — roughly 12% of the population — do not have access to clean water close to home.

Also Read- 45% Indians Feel that Enough Steps are Not Taken for Women’s Safety: Survey

Every summer water shortages tend to be more acute in large cities such as the capital New Delhi, Chennai — a car-making center dubbed “India’s Detroit”, and Bengaluru, the country’s software capital.

Modi also exhorted farmers to increasingly adopt drip and sprinkler irrigation and use water-management techniques as well as eschewing water-guzzling crops such as rice and sugar cane. (VOA)