Chhattisgarh may lose its superior position in the country on general sex ratio status, if the state fails to check ‘alarming’ decline in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR) as indicated in the latest estimates of the Sample Registration System (SRS).
According to CSR, number of girls in the age group of 0–6 years has been steadily declining at the rate of 57 girls per thousand males in the last five years (2001–06) in the tribal-dominated state. This trend now threatens to significantly bring down a sex-ratio statistics of Chhattisgarh with 989 females per thousand males, which is next to Kerala state (1,058) according to the 2001 census. The national average figure is 933.
The Union Health Ministry has already pointed out that Chhattisgarh’s female foeticide figures were second in the nation during 2003-05 where 33 cases were registered. The observation has shaken the state health department. According to the Population Foundation of India (PFI) that takes into account the nation-wide comparative data prepared by the SRS, there were 975 girls per thousand boys in 2001 in Chhattisgarh, which has now plummeted to 918 in 2006.
State coordinator, PFI, Jayant Kumar Bag told the Hindustan Times that the alarming rate was noticed while mapping the CSR in the state in terms of losing-counts of girl child. “The main reason behind the CSR decline seems to be latent female foeticide which might be widely-practiced but going unnoticed by the state government,” Bag said.
The State Health Resource Centre (SHRC) too does not seem happy with the existing trend. The SHRC Director V.R. Raman said that the Act prohibiting Pre-Natal sex Determination Test (PNDT) exists but is not deterrent for both the doctors and the parents in the state. Similarly, a senior doctor, on condition of anonymity, admitted, “There is a brisk business attached to sex determination and consequently leading to female foeticide in this tribal state.” Recently, the Raipur Police have busted a racket involved in facilitating pre-natal sex selection clandestinely on a big scale.
On the possibility of service lapses accounting to high Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) among girls, Bag, while underlining the covert sex discrimination practice adopted by parents in the state, said, “IMR is equally for both boys and girls and may not directly account for the decrease in girl child population.” The State has an IMR of 70 per thousand (in 2003) as per government statistics.