Union Health and Family Welfare ministry today expressed concern over dropping child sex ration in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the state government to take necessary steps to reverse the trend.
"The child sex ratio in Jammu and Kashmir is alarming.This a matter of great concern," Union Health Secretary K D Raju said while addressing the national summit on 'Best Practices and Innovations in Public Healthcare System' here.
The Child sex ratio in Jammu and Kashmir fell from 964 girls per 1000 boys in 2001 Census to just 862 girls per 1000 boys in 2011 Census.
"I do not worry so much about the fact that Punjab and Harayana have dismal figures but I do worry about the fact that Jammu and Kashmir has such figures," Raju said.
He said the reprehensible practice of female feticide is not the one that is endorsed here.
"This is a matter of most urgent importance. Steps are needed to be taken to reverse this trend and agencies, which can help in this regard, need to be roped in," he said.
Raju sought personal intervention of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who was the chief guest at the inaugural function, in dealing with the problem.
"I do believe it (child sex ratio) can be reversed. It is at the heart of the healthcare," he added.
Omar, in his address, said the declining sex ratio was a matter of concern and all the steps required to set it right will be taken by the state government.
"I have been told we are contesting those figures (Census 2011). Whatever comes out and till the figures change, I will accept it as gospel truth that we have a problem and we have to do something about it," he added.
Omar said he would have accepted that the "creeping effect" of female feticide from Punjab could have caught up with parts of Jammu and Kashmir bordering that state but he would not believe that such a problem existed in heartland of Kashmir.
"But the numbers have shown that (problem is in Kashmir also). If the numbers are wrong, so be it.I would rather be on the side of caution and take the numbers as true, till they are proven wrong. We are hoping that with the steps we are taking, this trend can be reversed," he said.
Omar said religious leaders like Imams, Granthis, Pujaris and Priests can play an important role in curbing the practice of female feticide.
"Government alone cannot do it. If these religious leaders devote some part of their sermons to creating awareness about this issue, it will go a long way in augmenting our efforts," he added.