Falling child sex ratio a rising concern, says Tirath

Apart from female foeticide, malnutrition is a major cause

Raising concerns over declining sex ratio in the country, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath called for more steps to prevent the issues related with girl child and women.

The government needs to work on better policies in collaboration with other public and private institutions, Tirath said while speaking on the occasion of the National Girl Child Day celebrations here on Tuesday.

Declining sex ratio has become a major issue in India as in the last decade 27 states have seen a decline in child sex ratio, she said.

“We have to take steps towards preventing lingering issues related with girl child and women across states. Sex select abortions and dowry cases are not the only issues aggravating these problems.

Legitimate measures, programmes for socio-economic empowerment of girl child and implementation of state-oriented schemes will help in resolving discrimination and killing of several girl child,” said Tirath.

She added that a girl child should be treated as an asset and simple steps like saying no to dowry and child marriage, equal share in the society and enforcement of law should be encouraged to change the mindset among people.

Neela Gangadharan, secretary in the department of WCD, highlighted some interesting figures derived from the 2011 census. “This census is a wake-up call for the government. The data given in the 2011 census is disturbing. The CSR in India in 2001 for girls versus boys stood at 927:1000.

In 2011, the same ratio stands at 914:1000. The district figures are worse as six districts in Uttar Pradesh had a CSR of less than 800 for girls. Apart from female foeticide, malnutrition is also a major cause,” said Gangadharan.

Farah Naqvi, National Advisory Council member, said the target category for improving the CSR was not the below poverty line population but the elite class.

“It is a problem of the small town, middle class and the rich. There is nobody who monitors whether they indulge in sex selection procedures or abortions. We have to begin to recognise that safe abortion (due to emergency) is legal in India. While the government, rights groups and even some doctors are adopting a technique which suggests that it is illegal or should be banned. This is misleading people,” she said.

Ena Singh, United Nations Population Fund member, added there were three basic issues leading to discrimination — fertility squeeze, marriage squeeze and asset squeeze—where a girl child was not given the same stature compared to the facilities given to any boy.

Experts from across organisations present at the seminar unanimously agreed that all social legislation should focus on the issue of declining sex ratio.

Zero tolerance towards female foeticide

The aim of the government is to work in the direction of zero tolerance to the female foeticide, said  Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit here on Tuesday on the occasion of National Girl Child Day.

“Girl child may not be treated as burden on the family but should be considered as most talented personality of the future as women have established, beyond any doubt, that they are capable enough to achieve any target and occupy the highest office. Since, the  government has been providing all opportunities to the girl child, it makes no ground to discriminate between a son and a daughter,” said Dikshit while  exhorting all Delhiites to help in developing an atmosphere conducive to encouragement of the girl child in the Capital. 

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