Introduced in 192, as many as 5,200 beneficiaries have been benefitted under this scheme till 2018. With the abandoned kids finding their way to adoption only through Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other individuals, the scheme has seen a dip in the numbers of beneficiaries in the past few years.
Officials said that the beneficiaries have reduced to few hundred across the State since 2017. While there were at least 10-15 children being dropped in the cribs in a year, the numbers have reduced to less than 10 per year now.
"The number of cases of foeticide and infanticide in the State reduced gradually after the scheme was launched. However, organisations or government authorities have failed to give constant attention and consideration," said Lalitha Kumaramangalam, former chairperson of National Commission for Women. The sex ratio at birth in Tamil Nadu was 921 in 2012-14, however, it declined to 907 in 2015-17. The child sex ratio in the State stands at 943 girls to 1,000 boys with at least four incidents of child infanticide reported in districts, including Vellore, Theni, Madurai and Villupuram last year.
"Post lockdown, there has been an increase in the unplanned pregnancies and more number of babies are likely to be abandoned. There have been no takers due to lack of encouragement and support to these schemes," said Lalitha.
The State Health Department officials said that the cradles installed at the government hospitals, primary health centres and other care centres have remained empty for a long time.
According to the Social Welfare Department officials, over the years, numbers are reducing even as awareness campaigns are put in place. L Revathi Loganathan, city social welfare officer said, "The numbers have declined in the past few years, which also indicates increased acceptance of girl child."