Beed’s child sex ratio among worst 10 in the country


, TNN | Jun 8, 2012,

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government need not have waited for incidents of sex-selective abortions in Beed to tumble out, as they have over the last month, to begin cracking down. The provisional numbers of Census 2011 show that when it comes to child sex ratio, the district is the worst in the state, among the worst 10 in the country, and barely better than the states of Haryana and Punjab.

According to the Census, Beed has 801 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of six. This puts it in the same ignominious group as pockets of Haryana and Punjab that are known to be biased against the girl child. Its child sex ratio is slightly better than that in the country’s worst district in that respect: Haryana’s Jhajjar (774); and also Mahendragarh (778) and Rewari (784) in that state. It is worse than all of Punjab’s districts.

Girl child campaigners say the state should have heeded the warning signs earlier and ensured stricter implementation of anti-sex selection laws.

Lamenting the child sex ratio record of Beed district, girl child campaigners say the state government should have acted early rather than be wakened by news items about abortion of female foetuses.

“It is tragic that the child sex ratio in a part of Maharashtra should be on a par with northern states. It is sheer recklessness,” says antisex selection activist Sabu George, who had petitioned the Supreme Court for strict implementation of the Pre-conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (prohibition of sex selection) Act. “The state should have realized the consequences and cracked down on sex-selective practices when the decline (in child sex ratio) started two decades ago.”

George maintains that the state’s measures—such as the crackdown on private clinics and adoption of the silent observer—are mere “desperate steps” to show that action is being taken. He asserts that the government should bring to book errant doctors to send out a strong message.

Beed’s child sex ratio has steadily declined over the years—from 939 in 1991 to 894 in 2001 to an abysmal 801 in 2011. It now features much lower than Haryana’s 830, Punjab’s 846 and Jammu and Kashmir‘s 859. Rural parts of Beed are worse off, with 789 girls for every 1,000 boys. The picture gets even more appalling when viewed at the level of talukas. Shirur taluka, for instance, has a child sex ratio of 768, Wadhwani’s ratio is 783 and Patod’s 784.

Nandita Shah of women’s resource centre Akshara too feels dismayed at the shortsighted nature of the government’s response to the declining child sex ratio. “Action has been taken only against very few doctors. Our plea is that medical associations need to do something, such as withdrawing the licence of doctors indulging in sex-selective practices,” she says.

Activists met the chief minister on Thursday to press several demands, main among which was the transfer of 14 pending cases of sex selection from Beed.

The authorities say they are doing their best. “We have initiated several measures. We arrested doctors as soon as we got to know of sex-selective abortions and have a vigilance radar for all maternity and abortion centres,” said Beed collector Sadanand Koche. He is forwarding a proposal to the state to have ‘cradles’ in the civil hospital to ensure that unwanted girls aren’t aborted.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Maharashtra to take ‘gandhigiri’ route to curb sex selection « Forum against Sex Selection (FASS)

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