While the literacy level has increased in India, the preference for a male child over female child still remains strong in most parts of country. The data from the provisional census shows a decline in the number of girls from 927 to 914 for every 1000 boys in the age group of 0-6 years. The sex ration clearly indicates the bias that exists and continues to grow.
The sex ratio has fallen substantially since 1961 when it stood at 976. The census figures reveal that in most states and UTs, the child sex ratio has declined and is a point to ponder over.
The imbalance in the sex ratio is a clear indicator of sex discrimination — girls are given less food, less health care, less education and even less affection. Also, it seems policies for the girl child haven’t done much to improve the situation. No matter how much we talk about gender equality, the ratio makes the discrimination very obvious.
Figures in Uttar Pradesh (899, down from 916), Maharashtra (883, down from 913), Chandigarh (867, down from 845) and J&K (859) are shocking and a matter of concern.
Though the southern states, Kerala (959), Andhra Pradesh (943), Karnataka (943), and Tamil Nadu (946), all have stronger sex ratios when compared to the national average of 914, they are worse off when compared to 2001.
However, the decadal decline in child sex ratio is less steep from that of the previous decade (1991 to 2001). In 1991, it was 945 and fell to 927 in 2001, a fall of 18 points (1.9%). This time, it has fallen to 914, a fall of 13 points (1.4%).
Such a trend should be a wake up call for the government as to not just enact laws and ensure their firm implication, but also encourage attitudinal change amongst the elders; only then we can expect some improvement in the number of girls.