'Rich areas show more apathy towards girl child'

Ultrasound machines have facilitated female feoticide in the country. Rich areas show more apathy towards girl child than the poorer ones, said experts here.

“Till 1996, we used to receive 20 to 25 cases of female feoticide. Now we get 900 odd cases in four months,” said Dr A R Nanda, former secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India.

He said earlier ultrasound was considered a very sophisticated technology. But as the machines are present everywhere now, sex determination is easy and hence killing the female child even before she is born.

Retrospection

In 1991, sex ratio of age group 0-6 was analysed by the census commissioner.
The situation was looked into restrospect from 1971 onwards. In 1971, there were 964 girl children per 1,000 boys. This was reduced to 962 in 1981, 945 in 1991 and 927 in 2001. In 2011, it showed an alarming decline – 914 girl children per 1,000 boys.

“We should not talk of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act only. Acts like Dowry Act are also important as we need a holistic view,” said Dr Nanda.

Dr K K Pal, director, RIDDHI, said, “The rich people discriminate more. For example, western Uttar Pradesh, the richer part of UP has low child sex ratio. Property relations and many other things start to dominate one’s attitude towards children. Girls lose out on such battles,” he said.

The speakers were expressing their views during consultation on 'Declining Child Sex Ratio and the Role of Media in addressing the challenge' organised by the National Foundation for India and Plan India.

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