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‘Female foeticide’

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    13th Aug, 2019

As per the Sample Registration System (SRS) data released in July for the period 2015-2017, female foeticide continues to increase at an alarming rate.

Context

As per the Sample Registration System (SRS) data released in July for the period 2015-2017, female foeticide continues to increase at an alarming rate.

Sample Registration System (SRS) data findings on sex ratio at birth (SRB)

  • The sex ratio at birth (SRB) has been dropping continuously since Census 2011, coming down from 909 girls per thousand boys in 2011-2013 to 896 girls in 2015-2017.
  • Of the 21 large States, only two — Kerala and Chhattisgarh — had an SRB of above 950 girls per 1000 boys
  • At present, about 5% of girls are ‘eliminated’ before they are born, despite the promises of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.

Economic Survey 2017-2018 also highlighted this problem.

  • The biologically determined natural sex ratio at birth is 1.05 males for every Any significant deviation from this is on account of human intervention – specifically, sex-selective abortion.
  • While India has shown improvement in several parameters related to women's empowerment, the preference for a son has not diminished.
  • As a result, the stock of missing women as of 2014 was nearly 63 million and more than 2 million women go missing across age groups every year (either due to sex selective abortion, disease, neglect, or inadequate nutrition).
  • There has been son meta-preference in Indian parents who prefer to have children until the desired numbers of sons are born.
  • This has led to the creation of 21 million “unwanted” girls in India between 0 and 25 years. They are neglected of adequate nutrition.
  • The male child preference is highest in Punjab and Haryana and lowest in Meghalaya.

Way forward

  • Stringent implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT Act) is required.
  • Schemes such as Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samridhi Yojana, enhanced maternity leave and mandatory creches in workplaces are steps in the right direction and must be implemented effectively.
  • Stronger commitment on the gender front is required similar to the government’s push for Ease of Doing Business and the nation must confront the societal preference for male.

About Sample Registration System

  • Office of the Registrar General, India, under the Home Ministry initiated Sample Registration System (SRS) in 1964-65 on a pilot basis and on full scale from 1969-70.
  • The SRS since then has been providing data on regular basis. It provides accurate, up-to-date fertility and mortality data via registration of births and deaths.
  • It thus helps in an adequate evaluation of a number of programs in the health sector, including family planning, maternal and reproductive health, and immunization programs.
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