Tireless work to improve the falling child sex ratio hasn’t gone to waste. BMC data shows a promising upward swing in 2013.
According to provisional figures provided by the BMC, the city’s child sex ratio for 2013 is 929 girls per 1000 boys. In 2012, it was 922. A healthy child sex ratio at birth is 951 girls per 1,000 boys.
In 2011, the city’s child sex ratio was 917 girls per 1000 boys. Worried government officials strictly enforced the pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic techniques (Prohibition of Sex selection) Act.
Experts, however, say it is still not time to rejoice. The city has a long way to go before the mindset of people changes when it comes to a girl child.
But civic officials are happy. They attribute the success to constant awareness drives and enforcing the law stringently.
“After seeing a low child sex ratio, the city is finally seeing a rising trend. We are doing our best to improve the child sex ratio in the city,” a BMC’s welfare department official said.
“We are regularly meetings doctors and holding awareness programmes... We have intensified our sonography machine raids too. We now have online registrations of sonography machines,” he said.
The number of missing girls can be calculated from the difference between the number of girls born during 2011 and 2012 and the number of girls that would have been born if the sex ratio at birth was normal — 951 girls per 1,000 boys.
Nandita Shah of Akshara NGO, which is a part of the forum against sex selection (FASS), said: “It is a welcome sign and I think it is the fear factor among doctors that is working. The state government, along with the corporation, is going the extra mile to see to it that sex determinations don’t take place.”
Agreeing with Shah, Jyoti Mhapsekar from Stree Mukti Sanghatana and a FASS member, said: “The Maharashtra Medical Council has done a commendable job in taking quick action against errant doctors by suspending them. This has worked as a deterrent.”
Experts feel it is difficult to change people’s mindset. For, the educated and the rich class too are into sex determination.
“Rich affluent people are more into child sex determination. They want a boy child as a heir. We therefore need to study the wards in the city which is doing badly in terms of child sex ratio. We have to study the class and community where the child sex ratio is worse and understand the reason behind it,” Shah said.
A prominent city gynaecologist said: “Families keen on having a boy go to any extent to eliminate a girl child. Wealthy couples find Dubai, Singapore, and Bangkok affordable. Details are easily available on websites too. When we refuse, they provide us with such alternatives.”
The in vitro fertilisation (IVF) process too has seen a similar trend. An IVF expert said: “We have been getting couples from rich families asking for a boy child. Mostly, these families with a business background already have a girl child. They want a boy to run the family business.”
Advocate Varsha Deshpande, who runs Lek Ladki Abhiyan — a Satara-based NGO, has been working against pre-natal sex determination for many years. “It is a good sign and the government is definitly doing its best to stop pre-natal sex determination,” Deshpande said. “But I am still worried and not satisfied... We are still way behind the 951 girls per 1,000 boys mark.”
How it is defined
Child sex ratio is defined as the number of females per thousand males in the 0-6 age group.
While child sex ratio is principally determined by the sex ratio at birth, it is also influenced by a number of other factors such as under-registration of girls, child mortality and age misreporting.
Therefore, imbalance in child sex ratio cannot be entirely attributed to the practice of pre-natal sex determination, says
the report, ‘Girls Missing At Birth in India’ (2001-2008), published by the United Nations Population Fund-India (UNFPA).
It is estimated that the practice of pre-natal sex selection has resulted in approximately
5.7 lakh girls missing annually in India during 2001-08. This is an estimated 4.5 million girls missing over the past eight years (2001-08).
population according to Census 2011 1.25 crore
90,798 Boys born in 2013
84,410 Girls born in 2013
951 Girls per
929 Girls 2013
917 Girls 2011