Fewer female births in India by 2030: Report


Persistent use of selective abortions, researchers estimate 6.8 million fewer females births to be recorded across India by 2030. The sex ratio at birth in 29 Indian states and union territories, taking into account each state’s desired sex ratio at birth and the population’s fertility rates has been projected by Academics from King Abdullah University of Science & Technology in Saudi Arabia.

17 states in the north of the country, with Uttar Pradesh being the most populous showed highest deficit in the female births and cultural preference for a son. According to the research missing number of females in state would be 2 million between 2017-2030.

“It will take time to remove deep-rooted custom and belief. Progress is slow and incremental but we are working on making girls valued and cherished instead of being seen as a liability who needs a huge dowry to be married off,” said Anuradha Saxena, member of the women’s empowerment division, Sikar district, Rajasthan to whom figures cam off as no surprise.

With passage of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act 1994, the government made it illegal to reveal the sex of an unborn child except for strictly medical purposes.

However, enforcement of the law varied by jurisdiction, and in much of the country the sex ratio at birth continued to worsen.

With using pregnant women as a decoy or simply following a tip off Indian police is irregularly arresting gangs who offer tests to pregnant women. India’s skewed ratio of men to women – currently between 900-930 females per 1,000 males – reflects India’s ingrained attitude towards girls.

While girls are being seen as burden and boys as breadwinners they’re more likely to receive nutritious food and medical care than girls.

There’s constant efforts been done by government, voluntary organisations, the media and some Bollywood stars to alter these attitudes. There have been examples where government officials have visited homes where girl child is born to make it a point of celebrating their arrival.

To show the girl has as much importance as the boy a scheme is being launched in Sikar where the girl child’s name is being written on nameplate and hung outside the house, said Saxena.

According to CENSUS of 2011, Of Rajasthan’s 33 districts Sikar has the worst sex ratio- 888 girls born per 1,000 boys.

Early marriage plays a part in aborting female foetuses as girls are often neither well-informed nor confident enough to challenge anyone in their husband’s family.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said recently in his Independence speech  that he was considering  raising the legal age of marriage for girls from 18 to 21 as 27% girls are married before they turn 18.