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Sex ratio: Learn lesson from Jhabua

THE LATEST data of childbirth in the State (for a period of six months) indicate an alarming drop in the sex ratio from 929 /1000 (2001 census) to 913/1000 but tribal districts of Sidhi and Jhabua witnessed birth of more girls than boys in this duration.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 11:43 IST

THE LATEST data of childbirth in the State (for a period of six months) indicate an alarming drop in the sex ratio from 929 /1000 (2001 census) to 913/1000 but tribal districts of Sidhi and Jhabua witnessed birth of more girls than boys in this duration.

Even more alarming is the indication that out of the nine divisions in the State, the sex ratio for the six-month period came down below 900/1000. Gwalior's case is most alarming where the ratio for the six- month period was 666.7/1000.

As per the health bulletin issued by the Public Health and Family Welfare department on its official website, between April and November 2005, a total 1033165 children were born in the State. Of them 53,9997 were male while 493168 were female. This means that per 1000 boys only 913.27 girls were born, pointing at alarming trend of female foeticide.

Division- wise, Chambal fared worst, recording sex ratio of only 843.8. In the three districts of this division (Morena, Bhind and Sheopur) a total of 71641 children were born of which 38855 were male and only 32786 were female.

The other egregious examples have come from Ujjain division (859.61), Sagar (863.88) and Gwalior (874.70). Indore division recorded the healthiest sex ratio with 953.41 girls being born for every 1000 boys. Significantly, among tribal dominated districts, Jhabua and Sidhi fared best, recording sex ratio of 1049.37 and 1016.78 respectively.

However districts like Shajapur (672.45), Chhatarpur (740.47), Chhindwara (794.41), Bhind (811.45) and Morena (851.9) show very worrying trends. Bhopal and Indore did comparatively well recording sex ratios at 923 and 967.

Director of public health and family welfare Dr Yogiraj Sharma who is also the State Appropriate Authority under the Pre-Natal Diagostic Tests Act 2001, said that the figures mentioned in the website cannot be made basis for calculation of sex ratio as there might be some discrepancies in them.

He said that the statistics mentioned in the website are a compilation of field data that always have a chance of some gaps and mainly meant for internal analysis by the department. However, he admitted that there is need to take more steps regarding prevention of deteriorating sex ratio and mentioned that soon training of the CMOs would be undertaken to equip them with more legal knowledge in the matter.

Principal Secretary of Women and Child Development S R Mohanty expressed grave concern on the trend and mentioned that more proactive steps would be taken by the way of IEC (information, education, communication) activities through anganwadis.

Malini Subramanyam of Action Aid said that the trend clearly indicates poor implementation of PNDT norms in the state. She said that though the problem is more of a societal one, government's initiative, mainly action on the erring doctors who let know the sex of foetus, is of utmost importance.

Dr Parshuram Tiwari of Samarthan questioned the efficacy of government efforts as also the role of the NGOs whose representatives are on the district level and state level monitoring committee under the PNDT Act.

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 11:43 IST