Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: There has been a further decline in the sex ratio in the past five years.

The National Family Health Survey-3, released here on Thursday, says that the sex ratio has declined to 918 girls to 1,000 boys in the 0-6 age groups. The 2001 census found a sex ratio of 927 per 1,000 boys.

The under seven ratio in urban areas is the same in the NFHS-3 as in the 2001 census, however, in the rural areas, NFHS-3 finds a sex ratio for this population of 921, lower than 934 in the census.

The ray of hope for girls is that there has been a marginal increase in the acceptance of daughters also. This preference for girls is directly linked to the adoption of two-child norm by the couples, according to survey. About 61 per cent couples in the country have two girls, as against 47 per cent in the NFHS-2 (1998-99) and 37 per cent in the NFHS-1 (1992-93).