The ICSSR funded workshop on ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme (BBBP) in Telangana Scheme: Socio-Political, Legal and Historical Environment of Women’s Empowerment’ was held at Dr. Zakhir Hussain Conference Hall, University of Hyderabad on the 1st of March 2024 organized by Dr. Sheela Suryanarayanan, Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Hyderabad. The ICSSR funded Short-term Special-call research project covered 20 locations in 10 districts of Telangana State, including 2948 Interviews with individuals, adolescents, teachers, Auxiliary Nurse Midwives, Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), District Welfare Officers and many other stakeholders and Frontline Workers. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the data findings and receive input from Co-Project Directors as well as stakeholders and frontline workers from various sectors and locations of Telangana State to effectively finalise the research recommendations.

Dr. K Srinivas, Assistant Professor of Economics, Government Degree college Patancheru, Telangana, inaugurated the workshop as the Chief Guest, with a pertinent Sanskrit phrase in his Welcome Speech “यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवताः। यत्रैतास्तु न पूज्यन्ते सर्वास्तत्राफलाः क्रियाः।” “Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata, yatraitaastu na pujyante sarvaastatrafalaah kriyaah.” The meaning of this verse summarised the essence of the research “where women are honored, revered, and respected, divinity flourishes. Wherever women are dishonored, their rights are trampled upon, all actions, no matter how noble, lose their essence and remain unfruitful.”  He explained the economic impact of the reducing number of girls/women in the society and the importance of state intervention through policies.

Dr. Sheela Suryanarayanan, Associate Professor, Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Hyderabad, presented the socio-economic background of the study participants, the ground reality of Sex Selective abortions occurring in Telangana State and the implementation of the PC&PNDT Act, the prevalence of son preference, the implementation of Dowry (Prohibition) Act, the impact of reducing count of girls on their right to education, the situation of services and BBBP implementation through IEC (Information, Education and Communication) and activities in schools, Gram Panchayats, Anganwadis and Primary Health Centres.

Ms. Shivajyoti, Mid-level Health Practitioner, PHSC (Primary Health Sub-Centre) Revally, Wanaparthy District shared her experiences with Beti Bachao Beti Padhao implementation and her practical struggles as a frontline health practitioner. Ms. Babita Baswapuram – Teacher at Kowdipally Zilla Parishad High School (ZPHS), Medak District spoke about her experience and what she teaches students on women’s empowerment. Mr. B Mabusa, English Teacher ZPHS HW – Alampur spoke about the significance of women’s empowerment and interventions with adolescents studying in his school. Mrs. Sai Lakshmi – Hindi Teacher – Gokafasalwad ZPHS, Vikarabad District shared the service problems, challenges the girls in her school face and how she tackles it. She shared a case study of a girl who was being forced into a child marriage and the teacher played a role of a social catalyst by informing the authorities and stopping her marriage. That girl is now completing her Post-Graduation in Sciences.

Apart from the stakeholders, Frontline workers present at the workshop, feedback was taken from Multi-disciplinary experts, also Co-Directors of the collaborative research project; Prof. Kotti Sree Ramesh, Professor of English, AdiKavi Nannaya University, Andhra Pradesh. Dr. B Rama Reddy, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Kakatiya University, Warangal. Dr. C.V. Pavan Kumar, Assistant Professor of History, Principal Government Degree College, Kukatpally. Dr. Srinivas K, Assistant Professor of Economics, Government Degree college Patancheru, Telangana and Dr. Yamini Jyotsna, Assistant Professor, Department. of Political Science, Adikavi Nannaya University, Andhra Pradesh.

As an output of the workshop, the main policy recommendations that were made for enhanced implementation of the BBBP Scheme for women’s empowerment included; legal and judiciary enforcement machinery enhancement, National Education Policy inputs, inclusion of internal and external review mechanism and enhancement of IEC mechanism.