After declining drastically to 888 females per 1,000 males in the 2011 census, the sex ratio of Rajasthan is undergoing a change for the better.
According to official data, the state’s sex ratio-at-birth figures have registered an increase of 42 points in the last five years. The numbers for the 2015-16 period stood at 929 women per 1,000 males, a vast improvement from the dismal showing from five years ago.
Social activist Rajan Choudhary told HT that though the 42-point increase was a good sign, the state still has a long way to go with regard to completely fixing the gender equation. He pointed out that the improvement was anything but uniform – while a few districts witnessed an extraordinary rise in female births, others registered negative growth.
He said Hanumangarh improved phenomenally, by 188 points. While the figure stood at 783 girls to 1,000 boys in 2010-11, it increased to 971 by 2015-16. Similarly, Jhunjhunu rose by 55 points from 848 in 2010-11 to 903 in 2015-16; Jaisalmer from 852 to 925; Bharatpur from 861 to 922; and Dausa from 863 to 919.
On the other hand, there has also been a significant decline in sex ratio numbers – from 929 girls per 1,000 boys in 2010-11 to 899 in 2015-16 at Udaipur (-30 points); from 907 to 890 at Dungarpur (-17 points); and 916 to 912 at Kota (-4 points).
Choudhary attributed the improvement in sex ratio to the effective implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (PCPNDT) Act, besides awareness campaigns held by the PCPNDT cell and NGOs. Roping in religious heads and intellectuals to propagate the importance of the girl child helped in many places such as Hanumangarh and Ganganagar, Rajan said, adding that the Centre’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save and educate the girl child) campaign also proved effective.
PCPNDT state competent authority Naveen Jain said the 188-point increase in number of girls in Hanumangarh district was due to the government of neighbouring Haryana getting strict on sex determination. Other factors include improvement in education standards, constant vigilance by the PCPNDT cell and its coordinators, and campaigns held by religious heads, he added.
The state, however, will not rest on its laurels. “As far as Udaipur, Dungarpur and Kota are concerned, the department will keep a strict watch at the block level,” he said.
Around 14.5 lakh children are born in Rajasthan every year.