Ask Rajasthan CM to devise a plan of action on the issue

Women's groups in Rajasthan have described the decline in sex ratio in the State by 26 points, revealed in the 2011 Census figures, as “shocking and disgraceful” and held both the present Congress-led government and the previous BJP regime responsible for disappearance of the girl child.

The latest Census figures reflect the skewed sex ratio in the State. For every 1,000 male babies born, the number of girls has declined from 909 in 2001 to 883 in 2011. Expressing disbelief, women's organisations said the future of the State was “doomed” if girls were not allowed to be born.

In a joint statement issued here on Saturday, women groups said the successive governments in the State since 2001 had failed to protect the girl child despite making tall claims of women's empowerment: “The governments [themselves] have breached the right to life, personal liberty and equality laid down in the Constitution by failing to prevent female foeticide.”

The groups which released the statement included Mahila Punarwas Samooh, All India Democratic Women's Association, National Federation of Indian Women, Centre for Advocacy and Research, People's Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan University Women's Association, Vividha and National Muslim Women's Welfare Society.

The groups pointed out that the State Government had allocated an abysmal Rs.2.50 crore in this year's Budget, which was of the size of Rs.55,000 crore, for implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, which they said would “not yield any tangible results”.

Lack of seriousness

“The lack of seriousness proves that neither the government nor the private health care institutions are interested in protecting the girls' right to be born. How [else] can one explain the disappearance of 117 girls for every 1,000 boys?” said former State Women's Commission chairperson Pawan Surana.

The groups regretted that while their request to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Assembly Speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat at the time of government's formation to adopt a policy for saving the lives of girls was not heeded, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje did not even deem it fit to meet them to hear their plea on the issue.

The statement demanded that Mr. Gehlot convene a meeting of civil rights and women's groups on the subject and devise an effective plan of action for the next five years to bridge the gap between the number of boys and girls in the State. The elected representatives should also be held accountable for fall in sex ratio and directed to make special efforts to improve the situation in their respective constituencies, it added.

The signatories to the statement demanded punishment not just to the medicos and para-medical technicians who conduct sex determination tests, but also to parents who get the investigative tests done. They recommended that the State Government appoint a review committee on the subject without delay in association with women activists. The groups said they would make “every possible effort” to ensure for girls the right to be born and live with dignity and evolve both short-term and long-term strategies for the purpose. Besides Ms. Surana, other signatories were Renuka Pamecha, Kavita Srivastava, Mamta Jeitley, Lad Kumari Jain, Nisha Siddhu, Sumitra Chopra, Nishat Hussain and Dharmeshwari Sharma.