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Child sex ratio hits new low

The female girl child is still unwanted and their number has fallen to an all time low since independence, latest census data released today revealed. Chetan Chauhan reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 01, 2011 01:18 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Census 2011 had delivered a mixed bag on sex ratio.

Female girl child is still unwanted and their numbers have fallen to all-time low since Independence, but overall female sex ratio has improved, census data released on Thursday showed.

India’s sex ratio has increased from 933 in 2001 to 940 in 2011 census. This means of the total population of 1.21 crore, 51.54% are males and 48.46% are females. Kerala has the highest sex ratio of 1,084 whereas the lowest is in Daman and Diu of 618 females for 1,000 males.

Of the eight states in red on female sex ratio in 2001, only four — J&K, Punjab, Haryana and Sikkim— remain in that net now.

Better access to health facilities for women is said to have helped female sex ratio, especially in the North-East with dramatic improvement in number of women in Arunachal, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.

For the girl child, the apathy continues. Child sex ratio in 2011 stands at 914 girls, down from 927 girls for 1,000 boys in 2001. Total population of children less than six years of age declined with total population of 158.7 million in 2011 as compared to 163.8 million in 2001 even though India’s population witnessed an increase of over 18%.

“The fall in the girl child population is a matter of concern as population (0-6) 2001-2011 registered minus 3.80% growth with minus 2.42 for males and minus 3.80 for females,” said women and child development minister Krishna Tirath.

What has enthused policy planners is that sex ratio has improved in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, which were the worst states on this parameter in 2001 census.

However, Punjab and Haryana still have the worst child sex ratios in India. The grim news is that rest of the 27 states also show a decline in population of girl child. “Measures of the last 40 years had no impact. There is a need to review the policies...” said home secretary GK Pillai.

The ban on use of ultrasound for sex determination of a child appears to have been defeated by availability of techniques on the internet. “Many states still don’t have apparatus to enforce the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act of 1994,” said Kailash Sathyarthi founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.