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Countering govt’s claim, Census data shows drop in number of girls

delhi Updated: Jun 24, 2011 01:59 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla

Provisional data of Census 2011 has laid bare Delhi government's claims that its 'Ladli' scheme launched in 2008 has fixed the Capital's skewed gender ratio.

The data has registered only 866 girls per 1,000 boys for the Capital, far below the national average of 914 girls and the internationally accepted standard ratio of 952 girls per 1,000 boys.

In 2008, when the state's data, based on birth registrations, revealed 1,004 girls for 1,000 boys, the government had declared that its 'Laadli' scheme had successfully stopped sex-selective abortions of female foetuses.

Under the scheme, the government deposits Rs 10,000 in the name of a girl at the time of her birth and Rs 5,000 each at the time of admission to Class I, VI, IX, X and XII. An accumulated amount of R1 lakh (approximately) is given to the girl on her 18th birthday or on passing Class 10.

But the number of newborn girls kept falling. "New Delhi, south, north and southwest Delhi revealed falling sex ratios. This trend is not limited to the rural pockets but also urban rich neighbourhoods, such as south Delhi," said Varsha Joshi, director of census operations, NCT of Delhi.

"The figures indicate that the rate of sex selective abortions is going up and there is probably no or little mechanism to check this," she said, adding, "schemes like Laadli have not really had an impact."

"The choice parents have to make is between Rs 3,500 they spend on an ultrasound and abortion and the Rs 1 lakh that the government offers the girl child. That's the one reason why the scheme may have indicated results at the outset but it is definitely not a solution," said Vijaylakhsmi Nanda, who teaches women development studies in Delhi University.

"No number of schemes will help check this imbalance. There is a clear nexus between midwife, aangandwadi workers and medical practitioners," said Dr Neelam Singh, chief functionary, Vatsalaya in Lucknow. She was speaking at a discussion on skewed sex ratio organised by Centre for Advocacy and Research in Delhi.

“One has to realise that it is a serious issue of medical organized crime. Unless there is political will, serious monitoring and implementation of PNDT Act the situation will continue to remain dismal," she said.