The Challenge of Declining Gender Ratio in India

Sansar LochanHuman GeographyLeave a Comment

Why in News?

  1. According to a recently report issued by NITI Commission, Sex-ratio at Birth (SRB) in India declined from 906 in 2012-2014 to 900 in 2013-2015.
  2. SRB shows the number of girls born against every 1000th boy.
  3. Due to decline in SRB the number of men as compared to women is on the increase in countries like India and China. This has resulted in increase in violence against both men and women as well as in the crime like human trafficking.

Key Conclusion of the Report

  1. Fall in SRB has been reported in 17 out of 21 bigger states of India with Gujarat leading he list.
  2. However, it must be noted that the date used by NITI Commission for this report were those belonging in the 2013-2015 period.
  3. India’s sample registration system data show that in 2014-2016 SRB has declined from 900 to 898.
  4. Constant decline in SRB has been noticed in India since the 1970 decade.
  5. In natural circumstances, nature balances the higher mortality rate in respect of men by maintaining SRB at 952. This phenomenon is there because compared to female infants the male infants are bio-logically weaker and their mortality rate is comparatively higher because their participation in hazardous activities such as warfare.
  6. In India SRB is below the natural number 952 because of the social evil of Indian preference of the male child. This means that we are killing the girl child in the womb itself. It is estimated that due to such evil practice nearly 63 million girls have been lost in India.

Ways to promote lower sex ratio

Until the 1970s people used to kill the female child. But in the 1970s the gender of the fetus began to be known through the Amniocentesis technique applied in detecting genetic abnormalities as well as through the emergence of the ultra-sound investing action.

According to a report issued by the Public Health Foundation of India (2010) these techniques promoted the evil of male child preference. The facility to select the gender encourages the people to use the option openly.

Government efforts to balance the sex-ratio

To stop the falling sex-ratio the Government enforced the Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique Act in 1944 whereunder provision was made to mete out tough punishment as well as monetary fine for health professionals disclosing the gender of the fetus to its parents. This above Act was slightly modified in 2003 and was renamed PCPNDT Act.

The main objective of the Act are:-

  • To proscribe pre-natal gender detection.
  • To stall misuse of pre-natal investigation techniques in gender selection.
  • To apply the investigation techniques to proper scientific purposes.
  • To ensure effective implementation of the Act at all levels.

Assessment of the PCPNDT Act

  1. This Act has failed in its objective as the sex-ratio continues to decline.
  2. In nearly 17 states not a single case was registered under the act and no person was convicted under its provisions.
  3. In 2010 report of PHFI it was noted that there is lack of trained officials who could enforce the PCPNDT Act.
  4. As a result the saff was incapable to build up strong case against violators of the Act.
  5. The Government should enforce the Act more roughly and should allot increased resources to combat the evil of preferring male children.
  6. Last week itself the Drugs Technique Consultation Board has decided to include the ultrasound machines in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act so that the import of such machines is controlled.

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