Haryana records 911 sex ratio at birth in first six months of 2021
It’s a setback to ‘Beti Bachao’ programme as in the same period in 2020, the state had recorded 922 SRB
When Haryana had recorded 922 female births per 1,000 males in 2020, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had set 935:1,000 as the sex ratio at birth (SRB) target for 2021.
The ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ flagship programme that Khattar monitors, appears to have suffered some setbacks in the last six months with the cumulative SRB till June dipping to 911, show the official data that HT has accessed.
Karnal district is among six worse performing districts with 888 SRB in six months - 23 points lower than the total SRB of Haryana.
Data showed that the cumulative SRB, a critical indicator of gender equality, has dropped by nine points this year. During the corresponding period (till June 2020), the SRB of Haryana was 920.
Haryana had managed to meet its SRB targets in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic posing challenges to the flagship programme that in the last six years has significantly bridged the gender imbalance in state.
“The SRB so far this year is not on the expected trajectory. The fall is sharp and reasons are plenty - from Covid to touts involved in pre-birth gender determination tests,” said an official involved in the programme, refusing to be identified.
“We have been observing every year that after dip in May-June, the SRB jumps during the second half of the year. Nonetheless, the birth registration data of first six months is being re-checked,” the official said.
Dr Veena Singh, director general health services, Haryana, didn’t respond to the phone calls and text messages.
Though per month SRB fluctuates, the total SRB this year so far has been lower than the corresponding months in 2020. For example, the SRB of the state this year in January was 918, February 922, March 921, April 918, May 912 and June 911.
In 2020, between January and June the cumulative SRB fluctuated in the range of 937 in January and 920 in June.
The annual SRB numbers have steadily improved in state, from 832 in 2012 to 868 in 2013, 876 in 2015, 900 in 2016, 914 in 2017-2018, 923 in 2019, and 922 in 2020.
“If the current trend continues this year, we may have to console ourselves with 920 annual SRB in 2021,” an official said.
The primary reason behind this pessimism about dip in the annual SRB among those monitoring the programmes stems from past experiences.
For instance, in 2017, the SRB till June was 910 and the annual SRB that year was 914.
ROHTAK LEADS WHILE KARNAL LAGS
Rohtak led the state with an SRB of 962 in six months, followed by Charkhi Dadri 945, Panipat 937, Mahendergarh 931, Rewari 927, Panchkula 926, and Jind 925.
Palwal and Sirsa were tied at the eighth spot with an SRB of 923, Nuh recorded 922, Gurugram 914, Kurukshetra 911, Ambala 909, Hisar 908, Kaithal 902, and Yamunanagar 900.
The worst-performing six districts with the SRB hovering between 858 and 895 in the first six months of 2021 are Faridabad (895), Sonipat (888), Karnal (888), Bhiwani (887), Fatehabd (862), and Jhajjar (858).
Total 2,20,841 births (1,05,255 females and 1,15,586 males) were registered in 2021 till June with 911 SRB.
Nuh recorded the highest 23,176 births (12,057 males and 11,119 females) during the first six months, followed by Faridabad (18,116), Gurugram (17,130), and Hisar (14,852).
85 RAIDS, FIRs IN SIX MONTHS
Officials said this dip in the SRB this year has been despite tightening of noose around those involved in sex-determination tests.
This year so far, 85 first information reports (FIRs) have been lodged under the PNDT (Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques) Act and the MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) Act.
These 85 FIRs were registered after successful raids were conducted within and outside state.
Sources said in January, 20 raids and FIRs were registered, 14 in February, 15 in March, 12 in April, no FIR in May, 10 in June, and 14 in July so far.
Last year, 100 FIRs were registered. Among the raids conducted last year, 40 were inter-state raids.