District Collector S. Suresh Kumar said the declining sex ratio was a cause for concern and a concerted effort should be made to curb the trend.

Besides, due emphasis should be laid on education of girls to facilitate their socio-economic empowerment.

Speaking in a programme organised by the District Forum for Child Rights (DFCR) to mark the International Girl Child Day here on Thursday, Mr. Suresh Kumar said it was perplexing how women came to be discriminated against in this ancient land where the fair sex were deified as goddess Lakshmi, goddess Saraswati and so on.

A lot depends on the men in the families and outside as well to check the atrocities committed on girls and women. “Sex selection tests are to be largely blamed for the emerging crisis. It is a pity that foetuses are aborted because they happen to be girls.”

Mr. Suresh further observed that about 40 per cent of girls in the world were getting married at less than 18 years of age. In India, it was 52 per cent. It showed how girls were treated as a liability.

“There is no reason for women and girls to be looked upon as inferior beings. They are as capable as men and have achieved many laurels and continue to be a force to reckon with,” he said.

DFCR Secretary D. Roshan Kumar said girls finding themselves in difficult situations could seek help through toll-free number 1098.

Women & Child Development Department Project Director M.J. Nirmala and Additional DMHO Uma Sudheer participated.

Later, Mr. Suresh Kumar released the annual report of Child Line and it was followed by a play-let organised by children of Good Shepherd Convent, Mangalagiri.

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