“Vision 2021 will eliminate foeticide”

A ‘Vision 2021' strategy devised at a State-level workshop on “Let Girls be Born” here over the weekend, is expected to pave the way for complete elimination of female foeticide in Rajasthan.

To control the decline in child sex ratio, the strategy laid emphasis on registration of newborn girls as the first identification establishing their value in the society. It called for mobilisation of resources to save unborn girls and linking the drive against sex selection with the implementation of statutory right to education for girls.

The 2011 Census has revealed that for every 1,000 boys, the desert State has only 883 girls, a sharp decline by 26 points in the sex ratio in comparison with the previous Census data.Sriganganagar-based Urmul Setu Sansthan and Shikshit Rozgar Kendra Prabandhak Samiti (SRKPS) organised the day-long workshop at the State Institute of Health and Family Welfare here with the support of Plan India, New Delhi, to share their experiences in the district and hold deliberations with experts and social activists on steps to combat sex selection.

Significantly, Sriganganagar is the only district in the State where the sex ratio of children up to six years of age has registered a marginal increase by four points from 850 in 2001 to 854 in 2011. Urmul secretary Arvind Ojha said this was an outcome of the subtle “interplay of several factors” which had reduced the inclination towards sex determination tests.

Social activists and representatives of advocacy groups addressing the workshop said sex selection and discrimination against the girl child were part of a mindset that had traditionally viewed daughters as liabilities and accorded an “inferior social status” to women.

Dignity of Girl Child Foundation chairperson, noted medical expert Meeta Singh, said the number of girls was decreasing in the State on account of illegal sex determination tests, sex selective abortions and neglect of the girl child in terms of health and nutrition.

Jaipur—ostensibly the most forward looking and prosperous district— has shown a sharp decline of 39 points in sex ratio.

“The next 10 years are going to be crucial in Rajasthan. If the declining trend is not controlled by the 2021 Census, it cannot be reversed [anytime] in future,” said Dr. Singh, while explaining the significance of the ‘Vision 2021' approach.

Former State Women's Commission chairperson Pawan Surana said women generally seek sex detection under pressure, coercion or encouragement by the husband or the family:

“Yet, they cannot escape from their [own] responsibility. Societal apathy is appalling. We must sit up and take note of disappearance of 117 girls for every 1,000 boys”, he said.

The participants said the ‘Vision 2021' would lay identical stress upon socio-cultural, demographic and legal aspects of sex selection of the unborn children.

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