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Maharashtra sex ratio inches closer to benchmark

Monday, 6 May 2013 - 7:15am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Ideal figure of 951 girls per 1,000 boys is still elusive, but state has moved from 858 in Apr '11 to 914 in Mar '12.

The child sex ration in Maharashtra is improving. The crackdown by the state health department on sex determination and female foeticide could have yielded this result. The month-wise sex ratio at birth in 2012-13 shows a healthy improvement as compared to the previous fiscal.

From 897 girls per 1,000 boys in March 2012, the ratio jumped to 914 girls per 1,000 boys in March this year. The ideal sex ratio at birth though is 951 girls.

While reviewing the implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, on Friday, health minister Suresh Shetty said that an internal health department survey has shown a rise in births of girls over the year because of the state’s crackdown on sex determination and female foeticide.

Shetty asked for a campaign to inspect sonography centres across the state and for a vigilance committee to be set up under the municipal commissioners of Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad with a report being given every month.

According to the department’s data, the month-wise sex ratio at birth has been higher in all the months of 2012-13 as compared to 2011-12. From 858 in April 2011, it rose to 895 a year later (in April 2012) and has touched 914 almost two years later (March 2013).

Maharashtra was rapped-up by central government when its sex ratio record was found to be one of the worst in Census 2011 across India. Marathwada region’s record was worse in the state.

Earlier, the department’s estimates arrived at by considering the average expected sex ratio of 952 and the child sex ratio (approximate population of girls between the age of zero and six years) of 883 in the 2011 census indicated that at least 4.69 lakh cases of female foeticide may have occurred in a decade. Of this, Mumbai accounts for 30,116.

Ecstatic over the improvement in sex ratio figures, Shetty said this success could be attributed to the effective implementation of the PCPNDT Act.

However, the population experts say there is still a long way to go with the state’s child sex ratio still much lower than the ideal sex ratio at birth of 951 girls per 1,000 boys. AL Sharda, director of Mumbai-based NGO Population First, says, “A positive trend should be welcomed but with this we can’t derive a conclusion that PCPNDT Act is implemented perfectly now. We should wait for more time to see if this trend continues.”

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