Low sex ratio gloom in high literacy dists of Odisha

BHUBANESWAR: Despite several preventive measures, declining sex ratio in the State has left social engineers and health experts worried. The sex ratio in Odisha stands at 941 female for 1,000 male against 953 in 2001.What has pressed the panic button is the fact that districts like Dhenkanal, Angul and Nayagarh, having a literacy rate of around 80 per cent, have registered alarmingly low ratio. The sex ratio in Nayagarh is 855, followed by 877 in Dhenkanal and 889 in Angul.

Besides, most of the developed districts like Khurda, Cuttack, Puri and coastal ones like Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Ganjam continue to remain a major belt of low sex ratio compared to the tribal dominated and comparatively less developed districts.

Of 30 districts, 18 display higher sex ratio than the State average. Southern most district Nabarangpur has the highest sex ratio of 998. Districts with sex ratio above 950 are Balangir, Bargarh, Boudh, Gajapati, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nuapada, Rayagada and Subarnapur.
Health experts believe small family norm coupled with easy availability of sex determination tests and pre-conception sex selection facilities have become a catalyst in the declining sex ratio. Former Director (Health Services) Dr Seba Mohapatra said the downward trend indicates higher mortality rate among girl children and female foeticide. Sadly, the mortality rate is high in Khurda and Jagatsinghpur which have highest female literacy rate of 87 per cent and 92 per cent respectively.

‘’The pace of decline is more in urban pockets having high literacy rate in comparison to rural areas. The sex ratio has also declined in some of the tribal districts which boasted of better sex ratio earlier. The situation worsened due to diffusion of sex-detection technologies,’’ she said.

Meanwhile, the State Government has stepped up strict implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 to check the practice. The Act bans pre-natal sex determination.At the State-level supervisory board meeting on Wednesday, it has been decided to build a positive environment for the girl child through gender sensitive policies and adopt a multi-pronged strategy including awareness generation advocacy measures.

Admitting that declining sex ratio is a serious concern, Health and Family Welfare Minister Pratap Jena said a decision has been taken to form committees involving PRI members and NGOs at district level to create awareness and weed out social discrimination against girl child.
‘’Besides, stringent action will be initiated against ultrasound clinics and other laboratories which are indulged in sex determination tests. Regular review will be conducted and monitoring process strengthened,’’ the Minister added.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Srikant Mohanty
    Jun 25, 2017 @ 11:17:15

    The Minister of H&FW Mr Pratap jena is very serious on the issue and taking effective steps at the administrative level, The call of the hour is co ordinated effort by CBOs to generate awareness in the society


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