More girls go ‘missing’; sex ratio declines

Despite its efforts to rectify the skewed sex ratio in the country, the government has admitted that gender ratio has declined over the years, falling from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and slipping further to 918 in 2011.

Haryana, which has 12 gender-critical districts, has the lowest sex ratio in the country with just 834 girls for 1000 boys, followed by Punjab which has 11 such districts and 846 girls for 1000 boys in the zero-six age group.

Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, each with 10 such districts, are in the third spot.

Data from the past three censuses submitted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to the Lok Sabha on Friday attributed the decline to a “son preference” in the country.

Admitting that the number of missing girls has risen over the years, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi told the Lok Sabha in a written reply: “The reason behind the declining child sex ratio in the country primarily is the socio-cultural mindset having preference for sons, considering girls as burden and preference for small family. Further, easy availability of technology for sex determination tests and abortion services act as catalyst in the declining child sex ratio.”

The government’s intervention notwithstanding, the number of girls in the 0-6 year bracket has plummeted even in those States where the ratio was not unhealthy; Dadar and Nagar Haveli for instance had 1013 girls in 1991, which has come down to 926 in 2011.

Similarly, Andhra Pradesh has slipped from 975 (1991) to 939 (2011), West Bengal from 967 to 956. In the Northeast, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland have shown a decline from 974 to 936, 986 to 970 and 993 to 943 respectively; only Mizoram has shown a marginal correction from 969 to 970.

Punjab, which has 11 critical districts, has also shown a small improvement from 798 in 2001 to 846 in 2011.

Kerala has shown an overall improvement from 958 in 1991 to 960 in 2001 and 964 in 2011. Himachal Pradesh, which had slipped from 951 in 1991 to 896 in 2001 has increased its ratio to 909 in 2011.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 12:46:17 PM |

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