A skewed sex-ratio and crimes against the girl child continue to haunt India
The country’s alarmingly skewed child sex-ratio continues its disturbing trend with a decline in birth of nearly three million girls as opposed to 2.06 million boys during 2001-11, according to the ‘Children in India -2012: A statistical appraisal’ report recently released by the Ministry of Statistic and Programme Implementation. As per the report, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh continue to indicate startlingly low child sex-ratio.
“The share of children (0-6 years) in the total population has shown a decline of 2.8 points in 2011 compared to Census 2001 and the decline was sharper for female children than male children in the same age group,” states the report. It adds that though child sex-ratio in rural India was higher than that of urban India, its decline in the 0-6 years’ group during 2001-2011 in rural areas is more than three times as compared to the drop in urban India which is a matter of grave concern.
Besides the skewed sex-ratio that the report indicates, another worrying trend is the rise in crime against children which has registered an increase by 24 per cent since last year. “Uttar Pradesh tops the charts for crimes against children, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. The states of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi together accounted for 47.6 per cent cases of kidnapping and abduction of children reported in the country. Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra together accounted for 44.5 per cent of child rape cases reported in 2011,’’ says the report.
Also a total of 132 cases of foeticide were reported in 2011 of which the highest number registered was from Madhya Pradesh, followed by Chhattisgarh and Punjab and these States together reported 56 per cent of the total foeticide registered in 2011 in the country. Maharashtra also accounted for 74 per cent of the total 27 cases of ‘buying of girls’ for prostitution and West Bengal has accounted for 77 per cent of the total 113 cases of ‘selling of girls’ for prostitution. The report registered an increase of 43 per cent in kidnapping and abduction cases in 2011 while rape cases, where the victims were children, rose by 30 per cent in the same period.
“As many as 113 cases under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 were reported in the country in 2011, out of which the highest were in West Bengal (25), followed by Maharashtra (19), Andhra Pradesh (15), Gujarat (13) and Karnataka (12),” states the report. Indicating the trend in conviction rate at national level for crimes against children, the report claims that the figures stood at 34.6 per cent. It states that Maharashtra has registered the highest number of juveniles arrested followed by Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
“Out of the total juveniles involved in various crimes, 18.1 per cent are illiterate and 37.8 per cent had education up to primary level. Eighty one per cent of these were children living with parents, whereas the share of homeless children involved in various crimes was found at 5.7 per cent and the remaining are children living with guardians.”