J&K sees steep drop in sex ratio; Punjab, Haryana improves

Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana are the three states where there has been a dramatic improvement in child sex ratio in ten years, according to the census 2011 report.

However, Punjab and Haryana are also the places where the child sex ratio is the most skewed in favor of male children compared to girls.

Child sex ratio is the number of female children under the age of six to every male child under the age of six. Ideally, the ratio should be around 960-970 or so. In other words, there should be 960-970 girl children for 1000 boys. Girl children are considered more likely to reach adulthood than boys.

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On the reverse side, the worst performer during the ten years from 2001-2011 was Jammu and Kashmir. In this state, the number of girl children dropped by 79 to 862 from 941 in 2001. Dadra & Nagar Haveli followed with a drop of 53, while Lakshwadweep saw a drop of 48. Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and several other states saw the number of girl children drop in proportion to the number of boys.

The government said that the drop is, ironically, due to the spread of science and technology. While the spread of technology is supposed to encourage justice and equality, in case of India, science and technology is being used to implement age-old prejudices. Girl children are considered less worthy compared to boys, especially in North India, as they are seen as would-be outsiders after marriage. Girl children are also seen as dividers of family wealth as, in India, they are given a part of the ancestral wealth at the time of marriage in the form of dowry.

“Some of the reasons for neglect of girl child and low Child Sex Ratio are due to mindset having preference for son and low status of women, preference for small family coupled with easy availability of technology of sex determination tests and abortion services act as a catalyst in the declining Child Sex Ratio,” the government said.

To deal with the prejudice, the Narendra Modi government has announced a “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign for celebrating the girl child and empowering her.