After endless efforts to improve the falling child sex ratio in the country, the data released by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4) shows significant improvement at both state and national level. While in Maharashtra, the number of female child born for per 1000 male is 924, as compared to 867 recorded in 2005-06, the national level for the number of females born for per 1000 male is 919 in 2015-16 as compared to 914 recorded in 2005-06.
Though these numbers are a positive sign social experts say there is still a long way to go in improving the situation.
“This is the result of increased awareness campaigns through various mediums such as the media, films and government programmes. But we need to sustain these positive numbers. Ideally child sex ratio should be 951 girls per 1,000 boys, so there is lot more to be do,” said Advocate Varsha Deshpande, National Inspection Committee Member for PCPNDT Act.
The Child sex ratio is defined as the number of females per thousand males in the 0-6 age group. A normal child sex ratio at birth is 951 girls per 1,000 boys. 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.
Further elaborating on her point, she said the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) act has been there since 1998, but its implementation started in 2004. “It was after the 2011 Census, that child sex ratio became the national issue. In subsequent years the PCPNDT Act became stricter,” said Deshpande.
Deshpande said while the child sex ratio has improved, illegal sex-determination practices are still going on around the state and country.
“Six lakh girls are eliminated per year in India. Identifying the sex of the foetus at genetic level is huge business. We need to take concrete steps to stop this,” said Deshpande.
The Lek Ladki Abhiyan, a movement which was started by Deshpande, has carried out 49 sting operations at diagnostic centres and maternity homes that conduct sex determination and carry out abortions.
Dr Niranjan Chavan, Professor, Gynaecology Department at LTMG (Sion) Hospital said “Over the last 10 years, the save the girl child campaign has been promoted in a big way. Gynaecologists, who are part of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India, have pledged to not do sex determination or illegal abortions. Also we are particular about the online submission of ultra sound forms and data submission to the corporation or local authorities”.