As ironical as it could be most states in India with high literacy rates are among 10 states where child sex ratio (0-6 years) is dismal i.e. below 900. Census 2011 reveals that among children up to the age of six, the number of girls per 1000 boys has reduced to 914, lowest since the country’s independence.
The skewed sex ratio in these areas shows the worsening trend in spite of the fact that these are the areas that have witnessed high literacy growth rate and economic boost. Preference for male child is not now only restricted to states like Haryana and Rajasthan that have accounted for female foeticide in past, but also states like Gujarat that has strong economy and Delhi which is the capital of the nation.
The concerned authorities and ministries blame it on faulty ultra sound machines, doctors who practice sex determination test and various other factors like illiteracy and poverty as dowry like ill-practices still prevails in India. But equally important is the absence of women and child development schemes aiming for a better ratio and even if there are some, the implication is very superficial.
In the wake of such an alarming situation which is being talked about not only in India but abroad, the Union Health Ministry has decided to take up the matter with the 10 states viz. J&K, Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra. The states will be told by the ministries to identify the problem areas, worst affected districts and reasons behind the decline in number of girl child so as to plan further actions on it.
Activists are striving hard for the strict implication of PC and PNDT act (Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique Act) that will ensure a three-year jail term and monetary fine to those who violate the norms set by PNDT act. Also it will prosecute doctors who conduct sex determination tests.
It came as a surprise when demographers pointed that the preference for male child is not prevalent in tribal and illiterate areas. Ironical but as figures themselves speak — literacy could well be killing India’s girl child!
The table below shows the disturbing trends in10 states in India where child-sex ratio is dismal