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Girl child mortality on the rise: study

india Updated: Feb 11, 2007 17:33 IST

If you thought clamour over falling sex ratio had any impact, the new data released by census, would prove you wrong. Instead, in some states with lowest sex ratio, death of girl child seems to be on the rise. 
The recently released Sample Registration Survey of the Registrar General of the Census for the years 2003-05 states that the infant mortality rate of girl child is about 61 for 1,000 live births as compared to 56 for boys. About 68 lakh people in the country are covered in this annual survey. 

A Women and Child Development ministry official, who had analysed the data, said the mortality rate for the girl child has hovered around 60 for past few years, more on account on better performing southern states like Kerala, with girl mortality rate of just 12 and north-eastern states, with a rate between 16-20. 

The concern is the rising infant mortality rate for the girl child in states with skewed sex ratio. Take for example, Haryana, with a sex ratio of 861 girls for 1,000 boys (as per 2001 census), the infant mortality rate has risen from 65 in 2003 to 70 in 2005 for 1,000 live births. Incidentally, the infant mortality rate for boys in Haryana has fallen from 54 in 2003 to 51 in 2005.

Similarly, Punjab, with sex ratio of 876 girls for 1,000 boys, the infant mortality rate for the girl child has risen from 52 to 55, whereas for boys it has fallen from 46 to 37. Delhi, with the lowest sex ratio in the country of 821, is no different. Here, infant mortality rate of girl child has risen from 29 to 37.

Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research, says the trend clearly demonstrates where the girl child is heading for --- disaster. “In these states many of the girls are killed in the womb itself. Now, these figures show that their chances of survival after birth is lesser than the boys,” she said.

The survey reveals that rich and more education urban parts of these states are to be blamed for the figures. Infant mortality rate of girl child in urban Haryana was registered as high as 67 in 2004-05 as compared to 30 for boys. Punjab is slightly better with the mortality rate for girls at 46 for 1,000 live births as compared to 32 for boys. In Delhi, the infant mortality for girls is slightly higher than that for the boys.
Compare the scenario with rural parts of these states. In rural Haryana, the infant mortality rate for girl is 69 as compared to 63 for the boys. Rural parts of Punjab witnessed 51 deaths of girls as against 47 for boys.

Other states, with infant mortality rate higher for girl child are Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Terming the Census figures as a ‘serious reflection’ on the failed political strategies of the government, Kumari says, “the political parties don’t care for the child as they cannot vote”. WCD ministry officials, however, blamed the states governments for failing to enforce laws to check infanticide and control infant mortality rate in these states. “We need to change the mindset of people against the girl child which we have failed to do so far,” a senior WCD official told HT.

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