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TAMIL NADU, INDIA, December 11, 2001: Officials in the Salem district of India's Tamil Nadu state say there is a new awareness among the villagers against the notorious practice of female infanticide after two village couples handed over their newborn baby girls, in front a huge crowd, to Salem's District Collector. With so many baby girls killed in the poorer districts the state government has offered to adopt abandoned babies as an incentive against killing them. However, non-governmental organizations (NGO's) working in the poor districts say many baby girls are still being killed there soon after birth. This is despite the efforts of the government and social organizations to educate the people against this practice. They say the birth of a daughter is unwelcome to a poor family as they cannot afford the traditional dowry and other marriage expenses which follow when the girl grows up. A Tamil Nadu Government launched initiative, called the Cradle scheme, was revived after the new government, headed by Ms. Jayalalitha took over in May. If a mother does not want a baby, she can leave the child in a cradle kept outside the Social Welfare Department and the government will then help raise the child.