Sex Ratio At Birth Deteriorated Most In Gujarat: NITI Aayog


Sex ratio at birth dips in 17 of 21 large states, Gujarat records 53 points fall 

Between 2012-14 and 2013-15, the sex ratio at birth fell by 53 points in Gujarat, finds the NITI Aayog health index report.
Gender Inequality

Never mind the much-mythologised “Gujarat model” of development — the state has seen the sharpest decline in the sex ratio at birth (SRB) in the country, according to the NITI Aayog’s health index report “Healthy States, Progressive India ”.

The report not only ranks 21 large states on the overall health performance, but also records the state-wise performance of the states on individual health indicators.

The sex ratio at birth — or the number of girls born for every 1000 boys during a specific year — was recorded for the period between 2012-14 (base year) and 2013-15 (reference year).

The SRB “is an important indicator and reflects the extent to which there is reduction in the number of girl children born by sex-selective abortions,” as the report says.

Gujarat topped the ‘most deteriorated’ category — states that had the most alarming decrease in the SRB. In Gujarat, the sex ratio at birth fell from 907 to 854, a fall of 53 points.

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This was followed by Haryana, where the SRB fell from 866 to 831, a fall of 35 points. Rajasthan came in third with a fall of 32 points, from 893 to 861. Next was Uttarakhand, where the SRB fell from 871 to 844, a fall of 27 points.

In fact, 17 out of the 21 states recorded saw a dip in the sex ratio at birth — painting a grim picture of gender justice the country.

Only three states saw an improvement — with Punjab having the most improved sex ratio at birth, from 870 to 889, an improvement of 19 points.

Uttar Pradesh saw an increase of 10 points, from 869 to 879, while Bihar saw an improvement of 9 points, from 907 to 916. In Jammu & Kashmir, the SRB remained stagnant at 899.

Kerala continues to have the highest SRB, even though it saw a fall of 7 points, from 974 to 967, followed by Chhattisgarh that saw a decline of 12 points from 973 to 961.

“There is a clear need for States to effectively implement the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 and take appropriate measures to promote the value of the girl child,” the report notes further.

Gujarat’s performance for one, however, should not be surprising.

A 2014 report of India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for 2009-2014 showed what a mess the Gujarat government had made of implementing the PCPNDT Act.

The state also has the sixth worst child sex ratio for the 0-6 age group, with only 883 girls for every 1000 boys, as against an average of 927 for the country, according to the 2011 Census.

“The NITI Aayog report is more evidence that the so-called ‘Gujarat Model of development’ has led to an increase in inequity; in this case, gender inequity,” said Dr Amit Sengupta of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan to Newsclick. 

The report also shows that economic prosperity does not necessarily translate into social progressiveness, as evident from the fact that states like Punjab and Haryana, despite having a higher per capita income, have a worse sex ratio than Bihar, for example.

Sengupta agrees, “The results prove once again that social backwardness and poverty are not directly related. Gender justice does not come automatically with economic prosperity.”

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India – 21 million parents did not want daughters – first national data


The number has been arrived at by looking at the sex ratio of the last child (SRLC) which is heavily male-skewed, indicating that parents keep having children until they get the desired number of sons.

by Shalini Nair | New Delhi | Updated: January 30, 2018 5:35 pm

sex ratio, unwanted girls, srlc, sex ratio of last child, male child preferance, daughters, sex selection, female feoticide, indian expressThe number has been arrived at by looking at the sex ratio of the last child (SRLC) which is heavily male-skewed, indicating that parents keep having children until they get the desired number of sons. (AP Photo/Representational)

The Economic Survey presents the first ever estimate of the number of ‘unwanted’ girls in India — girls whose parents wanted a boy but had a girl instead — at 21 million. The number has been arrived at by looking at the sex ratio of the last child (SRLC) which is heavily male-skewed, indicating that parents keep having children until they get the desired number of sons.

The Survey points out that the huge number of ‘unwanted girls’ (in the 0-25 age group in the population currently) is a direct outcome of the ‘son meta preference’ where parents do not stop having children after having a daughter.

The idea is based on a bunch of papers published in 2017 by development economist Seema Jayachandran of Northwestern University. While the ‘son meta preference’ does not lead to sex-selective abortion, the Survey 21 million is the number of girls parents did not want: first such national data sums up Jayachandran’s paper to state that it is “detrimental to female children because it may lead to fewer resources devoted to them”.

Read | Thrust areas: Economic convergence, gender inequality, climate change

The biologically determined natural sex ratio at birth is 1.05 boy for every girl. The Survey points out that in India, the sex ratio of the last child is skewed towards male all throughout — for first-born, it is 1.82, 1.55 for second born, 1.65 for third child and so on.

sex ratio, unwanted girls, srlc, sex ratio of last child, male child preferance, daughters, sex selection, female feoticide, indian express

 

The report compares India’s heavily-skewed-in-favour-of-boys SRLC to that of Indonesia, where the sex ratio at birth is close to the biological ideal, irrespective of whether the last child is a boy or a girl.

The estimate on the notionally “unwanted girls” goes beyond the Amartya Sen framework of “missing women” (owing to sex selective abortion or girl children who die owing to deliberate neglect). Using Sen’s methodology of sex ratio difference, as devised in 1990, the Survey pegs the number of “missing women” as of 2014 at 63 million, an increase from the 37 million as per Sen’s estimate.

The sex ratio of last birth (females per hundred births) has merely changed from 39.5 per cent to 39 per cent between 2005-06 and 2015-16. It is among two of the 17 gender indicators used in the Survey that fails to show any decadal improvement with an increase in wealth — the other being the effect on women’s employment.

 

Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, the proportion of women who took up paid work has gone down from 36 per cent to 24 per cent, making India a glaring outlier in this respect. One of the main reasons for this continues to be the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work that falls on women, including looking after elders and children.

The Survey points out that following the implementation of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act, 1994, which outlawed sex selection, India has seen a relatively stable sex ratio at birth (SRB). The SRLC, as an indicator, points to the continued societal preferences for a male child.

The Survey looks at both SRB and SRLC to state that in Meghalaya, both indicators are close to the ideal benchmark. Likewise, Kerala does not seem to practise sex selective abortions as their SRB is close to the ideal benchmark but the son preference is evident in a skewed SRLC, while Punjab and Haryana, two of the richest states, have a highly skewed SRB and SRLC.

Using data from the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) and National Family Health Survey (NFHS), the Survey states that over the last 10-15 years, India’s performance has improved on 14 out of 17 indicators of women’s agency, attitudes, and outcomes.

21 million is the number of girls parents did not want: first such national data

What’s wrong with India’s abortion laws?


GenderAnd Development: The tricky debate on Abortion: Where the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act conflicts with two other laws?

Nandini Rathi

 

This August, the denial of abortion to the 10-year-old rape survivor from Chandigarh by the Supreme Court made headlines, shocking the country and leaving the medical community split in opinion. While the young girl has been recuperating at home from her C-section delivery and from what could only have been mental and physical trauma, the onslaught of women and girls seeking permissions for late-term abortion to High Courts and the Supreme Court continues. On November 22, PTI reported that a 12-year old rape survivor from Khargone, Madhya Pradesh gave birth under C-section after her abortion plea was rejected by the High Court, citing her age and risk, earlier in September. This little girl’s pregnancy had been first discovered more than three months ago in August. While it was then just over 20 weeks, following the letter of law, abortion had been treated a foregone option and denied.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of 1971 permits abortions after consultation with one doctor up to 12 weeks. Between 12 to 20 weeks, medical opinion of two doctors is required. Further, only a registered allopathic physician in a registered facility is authorised to conduct the procedure. Beyond the 20 weeks ceiling, exceptions are legally permissible only if continuation of pregnancy poses a threat to the mother’s life.

The 46-year-old law has been under fire from doctors and lawyers for failing to move ahead with the times. There are several issues. The gestational age limit of 20 weeks on abortions is today understood as arbitrary and grossly outdated by gynaecologists and obstetricians across the board. Rare foetal abnormalities can be detected via ultrasound only around this period and the mother is usually past the 20-week milestone by the time these can be confirmed. Further, the Act does not recognise a woman’s choice in asking for an abortion, as legally she remains at the disposal of a physician’s judgment even in the early stages of pregnancy.

THE INFLUX OF COURT PETITIONS 

While MTP Act itself does not direct anyone to approach the court for permission to terminate pregnancy post-20 weeks, the recent few years have seen a rush of court petitions seeking permission for abortion. Often these have been either rape survivors with unwanted pregnancies or couples who found out about foetal abnormalities that are either incompatible with survival or posed the risk of substantial handicap to the baby upon birth. The curious aspect is why these cases are suddenly coming to court with increasing frequency only now, despite the fact that the MTP law is unchanged, and issues of foetal abnormalities as well as rape-related unwanted pregnancies in minors are something doctors have always dealt with in professional capacity.

“If you ask any obstetrician in this country who has practised for 10-20 years, you will find that they have always terminated pregnancies of advanced [post 20 weeks] durations on obstetric and medical grounds,” says Dr. Nozer Sheriar, former Chairperson of the MTP Committee and secretary general at Federation of Gynaecologists and Obstetrician Societies of India (FOGSI).

Advance prenatal diagnoses, which enable foetal abnormalities to be discovered typically between 20-24 weeks, became routine around two decades ago. Managing the aftermath was not considered by most gynaecologists as traditional MTPs. Until a few years ago, most gynaecologists all over the country were managing abnormal patient pregnancies, along with termination if needed by taking a medical call over the matter, after counselling the patient and with her written permission.

The gynaecologist/obstetrician of the patient maybe in the best position to make a medical decision based on risk, in some cases. But the Supreme Court and High Court judgments over the last few years have been inconsistent and ad-hoc on these matters; they have both permitted as well as turned down various women requesting abortions and hence now doctors are unsure about their decision-making territory. “Because of all these cases coming up, physicians are also confused as to whether to term them as MTPs or obstetric decisions. I think clarity is urgently needed in this matter,” says Dr. Jaydeep Tank, a Mumbai-based gynaecologist and obstetrician and Deputy Secretary General of FOGSI. He personally feels that such cases should not strictly fall under the MTP Act as they could interfere with the obstetrician’s decision making.

ABORTION LAW, ITS RUN-IN WITH POCSO

A pregnant minor, under the MTP Act, can legally receive an abortion with the consent of a legal guardian. Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012, any sexual activity under the age of 18, even if consensual, comes under the scrutiny of law. Thus, if any adolescent goes to a doctor seeking any services related to reproductive health, including abortion, the doctor is mandatorily required to report that to the authorities. So while MTP Act regulations lay down a careful confidentiality procedure for the doctor to protect the identity of the abortion-seeking girl, POCSO on the other hand necessitates disclosure to the authorities. “A lot of 17-year-olds, who would have gone to a doctor because that would have been the right way to get an abortion, suddenly now think ‘if I go to the doctor, the police will be informed. So maybe I am better off somewhere else’,” Dr. Sheriar explains.

The situation has became more dire, after the Supreme Court last month got rid of the exception for child brides and increased the age of consent to 18, regardless of marital status. While the intention behind the POCSO provision is well meaning, an estimated 47 percent of women in India are still married under the age of 18 and hence considerable sexual activity does take place among minors. The conflict between the laws results in a collateral damage where adolescents may be forced to turn to unsafe abortions.

ABORTION LAW AND SEX DETERMINATION

Another law that trips doctors from performing genuine abortions is the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act of 1994 (PC-PNDT) which criminalises sex determination of the foetus during ultrasound. Often, law-enforcing authorities feel that if they indiscriminately crackdown on abortions in general, they will be able to prevent sex-selective ones and female foeticide, Dr. Tank explains.

With a lot of attention and pressure from authorities due to PC-PNDT, doctors are wary and not doing what they initially did with a clear conscience, says Dr. Sheriar. As one senior gynaecologist running a private hospital said, “Even though I have performed an abortion for a genuine reason, in case the aborted foetus turns out to be a female, who would want to get caught up in a cycle of giving explanations in government offices” or worse, risk having their establishment discredited over such an accusation.

Given the present circumstances, doctors feel that urgent clarifications are required on the matter because when providers of safe and legal abortions turn women away, the remaining gap is filled by unqualified persons and quacks. “Just because of a fear of misuse, creating no mechanism and giving no relief to genuine people is wrong,” says gynaecologist and health rights activist Dr. Nikhil Datar.

Only a handful of women–make it to the courts, where they currently face additional trauma due to delays of legal proceedings, all the while with a pregnancy that is steadily advancing. Asked what happens to all the other women and where they go, Dr. Datar says, “No one knows”.

IN COLD STORAGE: MTP ACT OF 2014

A historic abortion legislation like India’s MTP Act in the 70s ensured that only law and medical opinion, as opposed to any religious dogma, prevailed in matters of pregnancy terminations. It also necessitated the consent of the pregnant woman alone, assuming she was a major. But a progressive law alone did not guarantee access to safe abortions. 10 women die everyday in India due to unsafe abortions and many more suffer from complications as a result of it.

“The cases that have come to the courts and in the spotlight of media are in the direction of foetal abnormalities and rape pregnancies. But that is a very small percentage out of all women deprived of safe abortions,” says Vinoj Manning, Executive Director of Delhi based non-profit Ipas Development Foundation. Currently, 50 percent of all abortions performed in India are estimated to put women’s health and lives to undue risk and that is above all due to an acute shortage of trained providers. This is one of the issues that the MTP Act Amendment bill, proposed in 2014, aimed to solve by authorizing AYUSH doctors, trained nurses and auxiliary nurse-midwives (ANMs) – after mandatory training — for performing non-surgical abortions via pills. The bill is however in cold storage and not taken up by the parliament since October 2014.

In addition to the fact that a woman’s right to abortion is a necessary condition for her reproductive autonomy, there is also a dire need to keep the woman’s needs at the center from a public health perspective. As Dr. Suneeta Mittal, Director and HOD in Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Fortis Medical Research Institute Gurgaon, who has worked in women’s healthcare for nearly 40 years, said in a recent panel discussion, “No legal barrier, no religious barrier, no administrative barrier and no political barrier can stop a woman from getting an abortion, if she decides not to continue [her pregnancy]. By refusing her, you are pushing her towards unsafe abortions”.

SOURCE-  Indian Express

Beti Bachao: The Declining Sex Ratios Of Indian Cities


Tarun Amarnath

sex ratio_620

 

Contrary to popular perception that the deeply rooted prejudice against girls, reflected in the country’s sex ratio, is mostly present in rural areas, some of the largest cities in India–including Delhi and Mumbai–had imbalanced sex ratios in 2011, according to an analysis of government data.

 

In 2011, for every 1,000 boys aged 0-6 years, there were 852 girls in Mumbai, 832 girls in Delhi, and 942 girls in Hyderabad, according to data put together by Kanya.Life, an initiative founded by Tarun Amarnath, a United States-based high school student, that analyses large and openly accessible data sets on gender provided by the Government of India’s Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner.

 

Data from 2011 is the latest publicly available on sex ratios of Indian cities.

 

The worst child sex ratio was in Mahesana (762 girls per 1,000 boys) in Gujarat, followed by Agra (772) in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Modinagar (778) in UP, and English Bazaar (781) in West bengal (WB), data show. Bally, in WB had more girls (1,185) per 1,000 boys , as did Nagaon (1,043) in Assam, and Tambaram (1,019) in Tamil Nadu.

 

A normal gender ratio at birth is between 102-106 boys per 100 girls, which would be equivalent to 943-980 girls per 1,000 boys, according to a report by organizations working on gender issues. This ratio is not 1,000 boys for every 1,000 girls because it is nature’s way of balancing a higher risk of death for boys as they grow older, according to the World Health Organization.

 

The child sex ratio, which is based on the number of boys and girls between 0 and 6 years of age registered at the time of the census, shows whether sex selection is prevalent in the country. A sex ratio less than the normal range of 943-980 girls per 1,000 boys, suggests discrimination against girls, and the presence of female infanticide, which is the killing of girls after birth, or of female foeticide, sex-selective abortion of the foetus.

 

An adverse child sex ratio is also reflected in the distorted gender makeup of the entire population. In 2031, India will have 936 females per 1,000 males, lower than the sex ratio in 1951 of 946 females per 1,000 males, the World Bank predicts.

 

 

For this story, Kanya.Life used data for India, each of its states, and its 500 most populous cities from 2011, the latest available city-level data. The largest municipality at the time of the census, Greater Mumbai, had a population of 12 million, while the smallest, Nagda in Madhya Pradesh, had a population of 100,000.

 

The average child sex ratio in the largest 500 Indian cities–the total population (221 million) of which is nearly equal to that of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain combined–was 902. Ratios in Indian cities were as bad or worse than those found in rural India in 2011, which has an average child sex ratio of about 923 females per 1,000 males.

 

India’s sex ratio at birth–the number of girls born for every 1,000 boys–since 2011 has slightly improved, from 902 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011 to 903 girls in 2015, according to data from the World Bank. But this ratio is still the fifth worst in the world, better than only Liechtenstein (794), China (867), Azerbaijan (879), and Armenia (883). India’s sex ratio is worse than Pakistan (920), South Korea (952), Nigeria (944), and Nepal (939), according to the World Bank.

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1W0pj7hjXwXg_0PQRJT1wzbGkPZ8byQ1TOpklJcUX2Jo/pubchart?oid=309934495&format=interactive

Source: World Bank

 

How analysing city-level data could help

 

Analysis, when taken down to the level of cities and towns, could help identify trends on gender discrimination which could aid the government and non-governmental organisations combat female foeticide and infanticide.

 

Further, research at a local level could also be used to make communities aware about the problem, and empower them to act.

 

Governments and organisations working on these issues could also learn from cities that have a healthy gender ratio such as Puducherry (Puducherry), Aizawl (Mizoram), Kolar (Karnataka), Kumbakonam (Tamil Nadu), and Nagercoil (Tamil Nadu).

 

Why India’s fight against foeticide, infanticide has failed

 

India’s national child gender ratio has fallen over the past three decades from 945 in 1991 to 918 per 1,000 boys in 2011, according to census data. The states of Haryana, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, and Maharashtra have a ratio lower than 900 girls per 1,000, which could imperil the future gender balance and demographics of the country.

 

In the mid-1960s, new technology that allowed for prenatal gender determination, and thus sex-selective abortion, such as the ultrasound, was brought into India, reported the Times of India in October 2011.

 

The liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s made ultrasound technology more easily available, according to a 2012 discussion paper by researchers at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany. “The number of ultrasound machines manufactured in India increased rapidly between 1988 and 2003 with an especially marked increase after 1994,” found the study, which said that the “initial introduction of ultrasound led to sex-selection,” but the rate of sex-selective abortion did not increase more with the rapid expansion of the technology in the 2000s.

 

The Indian government has implemented regulations to prevent female foeticide arising because of these new technologies. One of the main laws, the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC & PNDT) of 1994 prohibits sex selection, before or after conception, and regulates diagnostic techniques to prevent misuse of sex determination techniques.

 

But these laws are often implemented poorly. For instance, in Maharashtra officials failed to complete 55% of inspections of sonography centers in 2014-2015, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found, as IndiaSpend reported in June 2015. In Gujarat, the shortfall in inspections of sonography center was 73%.

 

Further, In violation of Supreme Court directions to prosecute cases filed under the PC & PNDT Act within six months, cases in Maharashtra and Gujarat continued from one to 12 years.

 

The Uttar Pradesh government has left unspent about half the funds it was allocated to curb female foeticide, according to the CAG, as IndiaSpend reported in October 2016. None of the diagnostic centres followed all mandatory rules of preserving image records or backups taken during the ultrasonography of pregnant women, the CAG audit found. In 68% of cases, women did not even hold the necessary referral slips from their doctors.

 

Disempowered women, culture of dowry, smaller family size, might lead to sex selection

 

Despite significant economic and scientific growth over the past few decades, female infanticide and foeticide remain major issues in India, data show.

 

Reasons for female infanticide include anti-female bias, as women are often seen as subservient to men, who often employ positions of power, according to information from the United Nations Population Fund.

 

In addition, parents believe they will be better taken care of in their old age by men, as men are perceived as the principal wage earners of the family. Parents of girls are usually expected to pay a dowry, which could be a massive expense, avoided by raising males.

 

Coupled with son preference, smaller family sizes might also lead to greater gender selection, as IndiaSpend reported in December 2016. “Sex ratio at birth becomes skewed in favour of boys when fertility rates are low “by choice or coercion”, according to a 2006 article published by the National Academy of Sciences, USA. “Female births must be prevented to allow for the desired number of sons within the family size norm”.

 

India’s sex ratio at birth declined even as per capita income increased nearly 10 times over the last 65 years, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of government data. This could be because rising income, which results in increased literacy, makes it easier for families to access sex-selective procedures such as amniocentesis, or sex determination by using the amniotic fluid, as IndiaSpend reported in June 2015.

 

Though education could help reduce son-preference in India, women need to be empowered more broadly, according to research, as reported by IndiaSpend in May 2016. Education, travel, the freedom to grow and make decisions, and the opportunity to use education just like men are the key ingredients for changing gender perceptions, not education or economic development alone or jointly, as IndiaSpend reported in December 2016.

 

(Amarnath is a high school student and the founder of Kanya.Life. He has a deep interest in applying data science to address large problems in society.)

Kingpin of a racket involved in sex determination activities arrested


Syed Intishab Ali| TNN |

Representative image. Representative image.
JAIPUR: Ravi Singh, who has base in 15 districts and in neighbouring states including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya PradeshHaryana and Punjab arrested from Khetri of Jhunjhunu district on Monday on charge of having involvement in sex determination activities. Besides, a nurse from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh has also been arrested.

His modus operandi is quite unique. He has his agents who kept protecting him from the PCPNDT cell. The PCPNDT cell had tried to trap him in decoy operations at least six times but he escaped all the time. His gang had a portable sonography machine. PCPNDT cell officials said that he has gang members who have different works — one talks to the client, another brings the client to him. There are others who keep portable sonography machine and he himself remains vigilant and alert all the time. He never stays at a place for 10 minutes after conducting the sonography.

PCPNDT officials said that earlier also, he had been arrested twice but he continued conducting illegal sonography for sex determination of fetus. Officials said that he is 10th class fail but he knows how to conduct sonography. He had worked as a helper in a private hospital in Delhi and some other places where he learnt how to conduct sonography. But, whithin no time he has become kingpin of a gang involved in sex selection, the PCPNDT cell officials said.

State appropriate authority (PCPNDT) Navin Jain said, Ravi Singh is a resident of Singhana of Jhunjhunu district. He is active in 15 different districts and four neighbouring states — Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.

The PCPNDT cell took help of Jhunjhunu district collector Dinesh Kumar and superintendent of police Manish Agarwal to nab him. He was arrested in a decoy operation conducted in Jhunjhunu district.

Besides, PCPNDT cell conducted a decoy operation in Hathras on Monday. They arrested a private hospital nurse who allegedly fooled her clients from Bharatpur, Dholpur and Alwar by saying that there is a female fetus in the womb of pregnant women. The PCPNDT officials said that she advises her clients to undergo feticide. But, in reality, she conducts general sonography and she herself does not know the sex of fetus. PCPNDT cell officials arrested owner of private hospital, who was absconding since August 2016 in Mathura. Officials said that in the hospital, a nurse was involved in sex determination activities.

Rajasthan- At 861 girls, sex ratio slides alarmingly


Image used for representation
JAIPUR: Despite several initiatives taken by the state government to increase the sex ratio, the number of girls born in the state against 1,000 boys has gone down to 861 during 2013-15 in the state. This was constant 893 from 2010-12 to 2012-14.

For the past few years, the sex ratio at birth was a constant 893. This has slipped to 861. Despite several initiatives taken by the state government to bring down the ratio at birth, it has fallen drastically between 2013 and 2015.

This is a fall by a whopping 32 points, as per the latest sample registration system (SRS) statistical report 2015 released by the Centre.

The three consecutive SRS statistical reports 2012, 2013 and 2014, had shown that the sex ratio was constant at 893, but the latest SRS 2015 report has shocked the state as it shows that it has slipped noticeably.

“The sex ratio at birth for the country for the period 2013-15 (3-year average) has been estimated as 900. At the national level, it is 903 in rural areas and 890 in urban areas. Among the bigger states/UTs, the sex ratio at birth varies from 967 in Kerala to 831 in Haryana. In rural areas, the highest and the lowest sex ratio at birth are in the states of Chhattisgarh (9870 and Haryana (836), respectively. The sex ratio in urban areas varies from 954 in Madhya Pradesh to 821 in Haryana,” the report says.

Health authorities claimed that the situation was much better in terms of sex ratio at birth now. “At present, the sex ratio at birth is above 940 girls per 1,000 boys born in the state. We collect figures of births from across the state through our online pregnancy and child tracking system (PCTS). We register each and every birth (100% births) on PCTS,” Navin Jain, state head (mission director), National Health Mission (NHM), said.

He said that according to registries in PCTS, the sex ratio at birth in the state was 939 in 2016.

Over the past few years, health authorities have stepped up efforts to curb female foeticide in the state. There are 2,760 sonography centers in the state. Officials said that they have conducted more than 11,000 inspections at sonography centres till date. In 2014, they have conducted 837 inspections. In 2015, this increased to 1,430 and, in 2016, the officials conducted 2,468 inspections. This year, till May, they have conducted 473 inspections. During inspections, they suspended registrations of 196 centres for flouting provisions of the PCPNDT Act. They also cancelled 472 registrations of sonography centres.

Officials said that 652 cases were undergoing trail in different courts in the state for flouting the PCPNDT Act.

Maharashtra – Ayurveda textbook shocker: How to conceive a boy #WTFnews


HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Maharashtra University’s Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine, and Surgery textbooks are teaching techniques to conceive a male child.
  2. The current BAMS syllabus textbook has been copied from Charaka Samhita which shares recipes to create a male foetus.

Want a baby boy? Collect two north facing branches of a Banyan tree (east facing will also suffice) that has grown in a stable, take precisely two grains of urad dal mustard seeds, grind all the ingredients with curd, and consume the mixture.This recipe is not some self-styled godman’s prescription to fool gullible couples. It’s part of the third-year Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine, and Surgery (BAMS) textbook that informs students on techniques to conceive a boy.

The text has been copied from Charaka Samhita, the pre-2nd Century CE compilation on Ayurveda, which is included in the current BAMS syllabus. According to the textbook, the process of creating a male foetus is called `pusanvan’, and any woman who desires a boy should be “blessed with the pusanvan ritual” as soon as she gets pregnant.

The textbook lists various techniques to ensure the birth of a boy. One such technique is rather expensive. It says: “Create two miniature statues of a man out of gold, silver, or iron after throwing the statues in a furnace. Pour that molten element in milk, curd or water, and on an auspicious hour of Pushp Nakshatra, consume it.”

The BAMS syllabus in the state is supervised by the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) in Nashik, and Dr Dilip Mhaisekar, former dean of the Dr Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College in Nanded, is the vice-chancellor.

Objection to the textbook’s contents were recently raised by Ganesh Borhade, a member of the district supervisory board of the PreConception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, who is also associated with the Lek Ladki Abhiyan supervised by advocate Varsha Deshpande.

“Doctors with BAMS degrees have a thriving practice not just in rural areas, but also in cities such as Mumbai, Pune, and Nashik. Many people shun allopathy in favour of Ayurveda, and if this is what medical students are being taught, God help this society,” Borhade said.

He brought the textbook content to the notice of the PCPNDT Act authorities in the state, but it is unlikely that such content will be removed from the textbooks in the coming academic year.

Dr Asaram Khade, the Maharashtra PCPNDT Act consultant, told Mumbai Mirror that a letter has already been issued to the joint secretary, public health, Government of India regarding the syllabus in violation of the PCPNDT Act, even as Borhade warned that the Centre had less than a month to act. “The academic year starts in July, and such content supports female foeticide+ ,” he said.

Borhade pointed out a part of the content in the textbook, which he said had no scientific backing whatsoever. The portion of the content said, “Cook rice flour with water, and while cooking, the woman should inhale the steam. Then add water to the cooked flour, and soak a ball of cotton in it. The woman should lie on the threshold so that her head touches the ground. Then, with that cotton ball, the liquid should be poured in her nostrils. It should not be spit out, instead it should be swallowed.”

MUHS Vice-Chancellor Dr Mhaisekar said the BAMS curriculum was decided by the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), and that he had written to the ministry regarding the objectionable content.

“We are awaiting a reply from the ministry,” Mhaisekar told Mumbai Mirror yesterday. “The MUHS doesn’t have the right to add or delete from the syllabus. There are seven members from Maharashtra in the Central Council of Ayurveda and all of them are aware of this content,” he said.http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/how-to-conceive-a-boy-and-other-gender-lessons/articleshow/58571447.cms

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