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|Thursday, 05 January 2012 03:57|
The falling child sex ratio is a grim reminder of India's continuing aversion to the girl child.
Source: Business Standard
Each decade the Census points to the declining child sex ratio, a worrying trend that continues to plague society. Factors due to which people prefer a male child are well known. The highest decline in the number of girls per 1,000 boys was seen in India in the eighties and the nineties, and this was attributed to the easily available technology of pre-natal sex determination. The Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 was followed by numerous awareness initiatives by governments at the Centre and states. Yet from 976 girls to 1,000 boys in the age group of 0 to six years in 1961, the child sex ratio has now plunged to 914 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2011.
Though, overall, the urban child sex ratio at 902 is worse than the rural ratio of 919, the latter has seen the ratio fall by 15 points over the last decade compared to the decline of four points in urban areas.
To begin with, the steepest decline in the rural child sex ratio over the last decade was recorded in Lakshadweep — a fall of 111 points. This is followed by Jammu and Kashmir where the ratio fell by 97 points. Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Delhi, Nagaland and Maharashtra registered a fall in the rural child sex ratio by more than 35 points. A positive spark came from Punjab, which has seen the highest rise in the rural child sex ratio by 44 points. However, despite this jump, Punjab has the third-lowest rural child sex ratio. (Click here for chart)
As always, state-wise analysis shows a wide disparity in trends. In most states, both rural and urban areas have seen lower child sex ratios in 2011. But efforts in seven states and one Union Territory – Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana, Mizoram, Gujarat, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Tamil Nadu – have led to a rise in the overall child sex ratio. Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Assam, Karnataka, Kerala and Nagaland present a mixed picture with only urban areas showing an improvement. On the other hand, in Daman and Diu and Arunachal Pradesh, only rural areas have seen a rise in the child sex ratios.
According to the Census 2011, child sex ratios in eight states and one Union Territory are less than 900. These are Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Lakshadweep and Uttarakhand. And ratios in two states and one Union Territory– Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands – are above 970. When it comes to urban areas, the ratio is less than 900 in 13 states — Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. And it is above 970 in only Mizoram and Nagaland.
While there have been just 875 cases of prosecution under the PC&PNDT Act till June 2011 in rural India, studies have shown that in the absence of such a law, the number of sex-selective abortions could have been much higher. With other government measures to support the girl child, hopefully, the next Census will show some signs of a reverse trend.
Indian States Development Scorecard, a weekly feature by Indicus Analytics, focuses on the progress in India and across the states across various socio-economic parameters.
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