J&K govt orders head count to check sex ratio | india | Hindustan Times
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J&K govt orders head count to check sex ratio

Alarmed over the Valley showing one of the worst drops in sex ratio in the last two decades, the government wants to be sure before taking any action.

india Updated: May 07, 2011 19:06 IST
Toufiq Rashid

The Jammu and Kashmir government has ordered a count of child births in the last five years in the state. Alarmed over the Valley showing one of the worst drops in sex ratio in the last two decades, the government wants to be sure before taking any action. The sex ratio in Kashmir for the age group six and below has become skewed sharply against the girl child, reinforcing suspicions of female children 'vanishing' in the Valley.

Though the government maintains that 'census figures are not being disputed with', that chief medical officers have been asked to check the records of births for last five years to know the trends. A government order issued on April 16, 2011 directs all Block Medical Officers to engage health workers and ASHAs to collect the data.

"We are not saying that census figures are wrong. We have been actually caught unaware. We never expected such a drop in the figures," said Dr Yash Pal Sharma, Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission for the state. "We just want to see the trends to know since when did ratio start falling" he added.

From a healthy ratio in 2001 of more than 1,000 girls for every 1,000 boys in six districts of the valley, all the ten districts in the region this time have shown the numbers going down to fewer than 900 girls for every 1,000 boys in this age category. The sharp downward trend has taken the overall sex ratio in the state for this age group from 941 in 2001 to 859 in 2011.

"In 2001 the top three districts in child sex ratio were from Kashmir. Pulwama, Kupwara and Ganderal were top three districts in sex ratio in 2001 and today there is around 200 point drop in each of these three districts," said Sabu George, a Delhi based activist, who was part of a high level group which met in Srinagar last month to deliberate the census data.

"The census data shows we are obviously not doing well, just want to know where are we lacking," said Dr Saleem Rehman, Director Health services.