The population of young girls in India is falling compared to that of boys, which can "spur great social unrest", a government study has said.
A ministry of statistics and programme implementation report, Men and Women in India, 2010, has found that the proportion of girls in the 0-14 age group of the total population of women was 33 per cent in 2005. The percentage fell to 31.9 per cent in 2008.
In case of boys, the trend was reverse. The proportion of boys in the 0-14 age group of in the total population of men increased from 31.8 per cent in 2008 to 32.5 percent in 2008.
Referring to this trend, the report said: "Though decreasing growth pattern of overall population is a healthy indicator, projected trend also indicates growth pattern for the girl child which may spur great social unrest." However, social unrest is not defined.
The trend might not surprise experts in population studies as the birth of boys as compared to girls has been rising in India, and more so since 1991.
The report says that for every 100 girls born in 1991, 105 boys were born, which increased to 107 in 2001 and 112 in 2009.
Warning that soon there might not be enough girls for boys to marry, Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research said that the bias against the girl child was not the only factor to blame. It indicated failure of government policies on the skewed sex ratio.
"The law (Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act) to prevent female foeticide is poorly implemented. There has been no meeting to review the law in the past one year, although it should happen every three months," she said.
Although the number of boys is rising, the report said the number of women in the reproductive age group (15-44) had changed a little. "Reproductive age group has inflated only by addition of 1.5 per cent between 2000 and 2008," the report said.
Overall, the report says Indian women still lag behing men on socio-economic criteria even though data shows improvement in all indicators for women.