Several Other Points Regarding the Skewed Status of Girl Child in India Is As Follows

Several Other Points Regarding the Skewed Status of Girl Child in India Is As Follows

  1. Background

India is a country of striking demographic diversity. It exhibits a relatively high but declining fertility and uneven economic development with marked regional disparities by social group, age group and levels of prosperity (Agnihotri, 1995; Dyson & Moore, 1983). The Northern and Southern states exhibit considerable differences. While the north has lower levels of literacy and relatively higher level of agricultural development, the south generally exhibits higher literacy levels and better health facilities. The southern states have lower levels of infant, child and female mortality rates and lower fertility rates. The northern states, on the other hand, have considerably higher rates of infant, child and female mortality and fertility (Jeffery and Jeffery 1997; Guilmoto and Rajan 2001). Several factors have contributed to a fertility decline in India. Among them are widespread availability of contraceptive techniques, an overall decline in infant mortality rate and a marked rise in the mean female age at marriage, particularly in the south (Hatti and Ohlsson 1984 and 1985; Srinivasan 1995). A matter of great concern, however, is the continuing tradition of son preference and the general preponderance of males over females in the population. India has one of the highest rates of masculinity in the world. In fact, the census reports throughout the 20th century have recorded a steady decline in the proportions of female population in India.

Many studies have drawn attention to excess mortality among females. Basu (1992) who has studied these trends has argued that the existence of a continuously widening gap between male and female mortality is an expression of the increasing popularity of amniocentesis procedure to detect and subsequently abort the female foetus. Given the premise that girls are biologically as hardy as boys, the higher death rates suggest a preoccupation with the existence and survival of boys. In 1981 Miller argued that excess female mortality in many regions in the north and among certain categories of daughters was so great that ‘the females can be deemed to be endangered’. Age group 0-10 and especially 0-5 appear to be the most vulnerable groups with the most imbalanced sex ratios, highest mortality differentials and most pronounced female disadvantage resulting in excessive female mortality. Gender based discrimination in resource allocation seems sufficiently adverse to female children to cancel out their normal advantage in survival rates. Of the practices that result in excess female mortality, infanticide and neglect are most important, although increasingly they are supplemented by sex-selective abortion. The project “Creation of Girl Child Friendly Community” has the potential of eliminating the instances of female feticide and improving the perception of people in favour of girl child through community work measures and enforcement of PC & PNDT Act.

II. Statement of the problem

India is one of the few countries in the world where males out number females. The sex ratio of Indian population in the century has shown a secular-declining trend except some marginal increases in the censuses of 1951, 1981 and 2001. The net deficit of females, which was 3.2 million in 1901 has now widened to over 35 million in 2001. The sex ratio in 2001 was 933, six points higher than the sex ratio of 927 recorded in 1991.

Several other points regarding the skewed status of girl child in India is as follows:

  1. 2.5 million Children die in India every year, accounting for one in five deaths in the world, with girls being 50% more likely to die.
  1. The National Aids Control Organisation has estimated 55,000 HIV infected children (0–14 years) in the Country in 2003, according to UNAIDS, it is 0.16 million children.
  1. The very existence of the girl child is under threat. Defying the normal male-female balance, and the higher survival capacity of girl babies and greater life expectancy of women to men prevalent in human populations, the female to male balance in India has been adverse to females for at least the past 100 years. The 1901 National Census recorded a female to male ratio of 972 to 1000, for all ages. Virtually every subsequent census showed a worsening decline.
  1. The Government of India in its report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said, “Every year” 12 million girls are born – three million of whom do not survive to see their 15th birthday. About one-third of these deaths occur in the first year of life and it is estimated that every sixth female death is directly due to gender discrimination.

5. Almost all government’s health policies seem to have an underlying family planning agenda. Health activists have analyzed that with its emphasis on population control; the rural health mission is no different. Over the years it has become quite clear that if people are forced to limit the size of the families, they shall do so at the cost of the girl baby, even if it means that they have to “import” brides from outsides their states or their community.

The South West District of Delhi will be the direct location for the project.

VII. Rationale for selection of the area

In 2001, Delhi’s child sex ratio stood at 868 girls per 1,000 boys; in 2011, the number of girls has fallen to 866. The ratio is also alarmingly lower than the national average of 914 girls per 1,000 boys. “While the situation has not appreciably worsened in this regard, much more effort is needed to bring the child sex ratio in Delhi at par with the national figure of 914,” the Census report states. Incidentally, the child sex ratio has dipped at the national level as well — from 921 in 2001 to 914 in 2011.

Only three districts in Delhi — East, West, and Northwest — have shown an improvement over the 2001 child sex ratio. It is lowest in the Southwest district, where the figure stands at 836:1000. The Southwest district is an amalgamation of urban and rural areas and includes 88 villages. That apart, it also includes relatively affluent areas such as VasantVihar, VasantKunj, Delhi Cantonment, RK Puram, MotiBagh and others.

“The child sex ratio was lowest in the Southwest district in 2001, and not only has it continued to be the lowest in 2011, but (it) also has fallen further by 10 points. There is also a substantial fall in New Delhi, South, and North districts. However, there is an improvement by six points in the Northwest district,” the report concludes.

Further, the reports of census 2011 data pertaining to status of girl child in South West district is attached herewith.