Declining child sex ratio alarms social scientists

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) With the 2011 census showing a continuing decline in the country's child sex ratio, social activists across the country are alarmed at the trend underlining the continuing preference for boys in society.

Organisations working in the field of women's rights feel that the drop to 914 women against 1,000 men - the lowest since Independence - is a matter of great shame for a country boasting of high economic growth

'It is a wake up call for India. We are heading towards a social imbalance. Declining sex ratio should not be seen only as government's responsibility, we as civil society organisations should continue to mobilise the community in order to encourage them to allow girls to be born,' said Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research and president, WomenPowerConnect.

Sex selective abortions have become easier in the last one decade, enabling people to determine the sex of the foetus just by purchasing modern and portable ultrasound machines, she said. The Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act also remains ineffective as there is no body/committee monitoring its proper implementation, she observed.

'Despite the policies taken up by the government which prohibits sex selective abortions, the girl-child sex ratio has fallen. We all need to strengthen efforts and undertake programmes in a mission mode,' Ranjana Kumari added.

According to her, Punjab and Haryana, have recorded an increasing trend but still remained at the bottom of the list. Haryana has 830 female children while Punjab has 846 against per 1,000 male child.

'The good news is that the overall sex ratio at the national level has increased by seven points since the 2001 Census to reach 940 females per 1,000 males,' she added.