This article examines how orthodox ideas of women empowerment have changed
for women living in the context of insecurity, examining many facts related to
declining'Child Sex Ratio'(CSR) in throughout India. The article explains,
what kind of sex ratio we have in India, provides fluctuating official data of
'decreasing child sex ratio' in the country, reasons behind decreasing the CSR
and wayout to equalise the same in India. It is observed that number of girls as
against boys in certain states is declining which is a matter of great concern.
The females are even coerced to give birth to male child.Notably, India has 63
million ‘missing' women and 21 million unwanted girls.In such circumstances
education of women needs to be used and effective means for their empowerment
and education will prepare them to have a control over their lives. The mindset
which militates against the girl child could not keep pace with economic
progress and literacy.There is a dire need to review the ongoing strategies and
re-examine the several efforts formulated by several agencies to cycle the
declining rate of CSR in India.
Declining Child Sex Ratio In India
Menace of missing girls after having several efforts ofGovernment, NGO's and
the UNis may able to flow the decreasing sex ratio in India. The gender ratio
is on descending order since 1991 to 2001. In 1991 it was 945 for 1000 boys and
in 2001 it came the number in 927. Further, the government has identified 100
gender critical district in the country where child sex ratio is very low. Haryana state has 12 gender critical district and has lowest sex ratio in the
country which just 834 girls for 1000 boys. Followed by Punjab which has 11 such
districts and 846 girls for 1000 boys. Apart from these Maharastra, Rajasthan,
Uttar Pradesh each with 10 such districts are in the third spot. Girls in 0 to 6
years bracket was plummeted even in those state where the sex ratio was not
unhealthy, Dadar and Nagar haveli had 1013 girls in 1991 which has decreased 926
in 2011. Similarly, Andhra Pradesh has decreased from 975 in 1991 to 939 in 2011
and West Bengal from 967 to 956.
Puducherry and Kerala where the number of women is more than the number of men.
Kerala houses a number of 1084 females to that of 1000 males. While Puducherry&Kerala
are the only two states where the number of female is more than the number of
men, there are also states in India like that of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and
Maharashtra where the sex ratio 2011 is showing considerable signs of
improvement. Census 2011 says.
In the north east Manipur, Meghalya and Nagaland have shown a decline from 974
to 936, 986 to 970 and 993 to 943 respectively only Mizoram has shown little
correction from 969 to 970. Punjab which has 11 critical district shown good
improvement from 789 in 2001 to 846 in 2011. Kerala has also shown an overall
improvement from 958 in 1991 to 960 in 2001 and 964 in 2011, Himachal Pradesh
which had decreased from 951 in 1991 to 896 in 2001 as increased its ratio to
909 in 2011. In the recent years innumberable crimes against women, increased
cases of rape and abortions are shows the ‘ugly condition' of women. Meanwhile,
the current Prime Minister of India Spoke about the declining child sex ratio in
the country recently and why we should be concerned about it. The child ratio
has been on the declining mode since 1991 and currently is the worst since
independence. Girls for every 1000 boys in 1991 it went down to 927 in 2001 and
918 in 2011.
The study of reports says that, All except 2 religious communities saw a decline
in their child sex ratio between 2001-2011. On the one hand, Sikhs recorded a
tremendous rise in the population of girls in their community as the sex-ratio
climbed from a laggardly 786 to 828 in a matter of 10 years whereas on the other
hand, Jains also recorded a rise from 870 to 889 girls per 1000 boys in the
community. Hindus, who make up 80% of the population of the country, saw their
child sex ratio come down from 925 to 913 between 2001-2011, in line with
Muslims, Christians and Buddhists.
Historically, however, general sex ratio has been steadily increasing across
urban as well as rural areas in the country for the last twenty years. And this
can be seen as a silver lining for now, even though there are fears that a
decreasing CSR poses a danger to the future population of women in the country
as well. Meanwhile, continued to display a healthier trend in rural areas of the
country as compared to urban ones. CSR in rural areas according to the 2011
Census was 923 girls per 1000 boys while in urban areas it was a measly 905
which pulled down the nationwide ratio as well.
Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting
the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and
building good governance- Kofi Annan.
Thus, The highest spiritual sphere were within the reach of both Men and Women
and latter needed no masculine assistance. Historically, the culture of India
provides a time when women had liberty and these existed a much more society
then what is now? The position of ancient India it is clear from the evidence in
Rig-Veda and we may check the earliest literature of the Indo-Aryans that women
held an honorable place in early Indian Society. There were a few Rig-Vedic
hymns composed by women in which female had access the highest knowledge and
could participate in all religious and political activities.
Reason Behind Declining ‘CSR'
The causes for decreasing CSR in India is mainly the socio-culture mindset,
having desires for ‘sons', thinking girls as a burden in patriarchal form of
society and will for small family. Further, easy access of technology for sex
determination test and abortions services may be a catalyst in the declining
child sex ratio.Exorbitant dowry demand is another reason for female
infanticide. Many government laws and schemes have focused on curving female
infanticide and effective policies for girls but very little seems to have
change.Noting that the study further showed that Indians have a “meta” son
preference, which means that if they have girls, they'll keep on having children
until they get a boy.
In other words, The belief that it is only the 'son' who can perform the last
rites, that lineage and inheritance runs through the male line, sons will look
after parents in old age, men are the bread winners etc.Notably, it has led to
an estimated 21 million “unwanted” girls in India, who often get less
nourishment and schooling than their brothers. Further, The Indian government
argued that there were more than 63 million women “missing” from its population
and that 2 million go “missing” across age groups every yearbecause of abortion
of female fetuses, disease, neglect and inadequate nutrition.
Notably, The CSR in India has always been skewed in North western India and the
Literature on CSR pointed out a clear division between North West and South east
pattern of female survival disadvantage. The reasons of child masculinity in
north western states have been explained by the cultural practice and kinship
structure which attaches lesser utility to female children than male children
and produces social norms hostile for the survival of a girl child.
Many researchers attributed the decline in the child sex ratio to a possible
rise in the sex ratio at birth owing to the increasing incidence of sex
selective abortion (e.g. as Gupta and Bhat, 1997, Sudha and Rajan, 1999).
The decline child sex ratio is both due to discrimination of female child at the
age of 1-4 and sex selective abortion practices which is widely prevalent in
Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Sex differentials in child mortality in
ages 1-5 indicate a huge excess mortality for girls as the result of
discriminations against female children in terms of food, nutrition and health
care indicators. The 21stcentury has seen multitude problems related to social,
economic, political, domestic and women is facing many problems due to these
multidimensional problems. Due to liberal democratic constitution India has had
female heads of state and women chief ministers. Thus, in a sense eastern
civilization can be conceived to be much more liberal in way accepting women
leaders in the political sphere.
Have we seen our Sex Ratio? Who is creating this imbalance? Not, God, I appeal
to the doctors not to kill the girls child in the mother's womb.I request the
parents not to kill daughters because they want a son. Don't Kill daughter in
the womb, it is a blot on 21st century India. I have seen families where one
daughter serves parents more than five sons.Prime Minister's Desk.As part of
the'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao'Campaign, Prime Minister of India launched a
scheme called 'sukanya Samriddhi Yojan
a (SSY)', that means 'Girl Child
Prosperity Scheme' in line with the above goals. In order to majorly address the
issue of declining child sex ratio, Government of India Launched a social compaign- BBBP, on the 22nd of January 2015.Moreover, Over Rs 250 crore was
spent on the 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' scheme in the last three fiscals, the Rajya Sabha on July 26, 2018.
The Union Government of India has taken various steps to uplift the 'status of
women' by implementing Several schemes including free education for girls in
order to achieve and promote girls education, UGC has introduced a Post Graduate
Indira Gandhi Scholarship for single girl child with an aim to compensate direct
costs of girl education to all levels especially for such girls who happen to be
the only girl child in their families.
The sex ratio at birth has also shown improvement in 104 of the 161 districts
studied, Minister of State for Women and Child Development (WCD).In 2015-16, Rs
59.37 crore was spent, and in 2016-17 and 2017-18, Rs 28.65 crore and about Rs
169.10 crore were spent respectively.So far, in 2018-19, Rs 25.40 crore has
been spent. Further, the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign started by the Prime
Minister aimed to spread awareness on saving the girl child and providing them
an equal education. Above government scheme was driven to stop the
discrimination against the female child and the rising cases of female
foeticides.Itwas among the first programmes that current
politicaldispensation started aimed at cycle the issue of declining CSR and
educating the girl child throughout India. It has led to significant improvement
in the CSR in various parts of India, taken the shape of a vibrant mass movement
that is changing mindsets all over.
Increased women participation in the public sphere and maternity leave, day care
centre and the workplace, increased gender sensitization are some of the steps
taken to improve the status of women. This will improve a current bottom ranking
of India in the gender inequality index. The Indian constitution is a Self
proved to setup an example by including as a provision in the directive
principle of the state policy Article 51 A (e), which exemplify the renounce.
Despite all of this,The spatial dimension of discrimination presented above
leads to conclusions that sex ratio is more skewed in the most urbanized and
economically well off states of north and western region. Conversely, the
relative under developed and less urbanized population of central and eastern
region have higher child sex ratio. Many of the factors associated with gender
bias in India discussed previously more in the context of north south cultural
contrast (Dyson & Moore 1983). The maps show obvi-ous regional contrast but it
also indicates a strong level of geographical continuity. Thus geography of CSR
variations remain as an issue of discussion through the su-perimposed socio
cultural frames that really deserves attention.There is a urgent need to review
the strategies and re-examine the several efforts to cycle the declining rate
of CSR in India.
Author,Trilok Singh,Postgraduate in Political Science, Kirori Mal College,
University of Delhi. Founder and CEO ofIndia's Journal,IASmindandYouth
DarpanCommunity Media. Currently Studies in Rau's IAS Study Circle, New Delhi.