When government cradles fail abandoned babies

Cradle baby scheme, abandoned babies, girl child, infanticide, female foeticide, social welfare department, adoption, adopt children
Cradles along with constant campaigns to end male child preference is key to improving the sex ratio | Illustration - Prathap Ravishankar

In April this year, Tamil Nadu was rocked by the news of some financially impoverished parents selling off 11 babies in Namakkal district. Investigation revealed that more than 25 babies had been sold earlier by a racket that involved nurses and assistants of government officials.

While a detailed study is still being carried out by the state health department to find out the quantum of crime done under the garb of adoption, the larger issue of the state’s failure to protect infants has been all the more glaring.

Tamil Nadu, which has been lauded for several of its welfare schemes for poor such as the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, has also been hailed for its Cradle Baby Scheme, launched in 1992, aimed at rescuing female babies who would otherwise have been killed by encouraging parents to give them up for adoption by leaving them in cradles.

Cradles have been set up in district hospitals across 10 districts. In other districts, the children, who are abandoned or surrendered, are brought under this scheme through other ways.

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