Declining Sex ratio - Reasons and Government's initiatives to tackle it

Declining Sex ratio - Reasons and Government's initiatives to tackle it

Question:-According to the Census of 2011, Haryana had a low sex ratio of 877 females per 1000 males. Explain the factors responsible for the decline in sex ratio in India.What are the schemes introduced by the government to combat with the problem of declining sex ratio.

Sex Ratio : The sex ratio is the number of females per 1000 males in a particular area at a given time.

Sex ratio is an important demographic indicator.

Scenario of sex ratio in India

In 2015, the sex ratio in India was 943 females for 1000 males. Sex ratio varies from region to region.

In the latest census, Kerala has 1084 females per 1000 males, making it the best state to have a good sex ratio.

With a ratio of 877 females per 1000 males, the state of Haryana suffers from the lowest sex ratio.

There has been a great improvement in the sex ratio of India. In 2012, India had a ratio of 940 females per 1000 males.

Factors responsible for declining sex ratio

- Education – The role of education has a great influence on the sex ratio scenario of India. Child marriages are a common part of the Indian society. Most of the girls are prone to the issue of child marriage at a very early age. This makes them to stay away from the education and are compelled to take the responsibilities of the household. Due to illiteracy, people are unaware about the power and role of women in today's era.

- Poverty – Poverty is one of the factor which is responsible for the declining sex ratio. States like Tamil Nadu have a high sex ratio but the poverty rate is low. There are states wherein due to poverty, a lot of girls are denied of nutritious food . This deprives the women and girl child from a living a healthy life.

- Social status of women – In most parts of India, women are merely considered as an object. People are worried about the dowry issue with the birth of a girl child. Due to financial problem, most of the families in rural areas prefer male child over female.

- Lack of empowerment of women - There is a lack of empowerment of women especially in the rural areas. Women do not enjoy opportunities as men do. Due to lack of education, women are unable to establish their roles in many places. The state of Uttar Pradesh has become like a grave for girls.

- Male domination – Majority of the places in India follow the patriarchal system.In India, males are considered to be the only bread earners. The methods of sex determination and female foeticide are adopted which is main reason of declining number of females especially in North India.

- Infant and Maternal Mortality – Infant mortality rate is the number of death of babies before the age of one. Due to female foeticide, the sex ratio declines terribly. Maternal mortality also contributes to the declining sex ratio as most of the women die during the childbirth due to improper care and less facilities.

Schemes to combat the problem of sex ratio

Due to the declining sex ratio, the government has introduced certain schemes to tackle the issue.

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao – This is one of the important campaign introduced by the government led by Narendra Modi to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of the welfare services meant for women. The initiative was launched by Prime Minister Modi on 22 January 2015 in Haryana.

Sukanya Samriddhi Account – This scheme has been notified by the Ministry of Finance on 2 December, 2014. The initiative aims at opening a new account for the girl child. The account can be operated by her after the age of 10. The account can be opened in a post office or a public sector bank.

The Girl Child Protection Scheme – The scheme is aimed at preventing the gender discrimination by protecting the rights of the girl child. It also tries to eliminate the negative attitudes and practices against the girl child.

Aapki Beti, Humari Beti – Haryana has the lowest sex ratio in India. To cope up with this issue, the Haryana government launched this scheme. A sum of Rs 21000 would be deposited by the state government in the account of every new born girl. The scheme would be implemented in both rural and urban areas. It would target the girl child of Scheduled Caste and Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.

PCPNDT Act: The Indian government has passed Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) (PCPNDT) Act in 2004 to ban and punish prenatal sex screening and female foeticide. It is currently illegal in India to determine or disclose sex of the foetus to anyone. However, there are concerns that PCPNDT Act has been poorly enforced by authorities.

Facts and figures

- India has the largest population of children with 400 million.

- One out of the sixth girl child dies due to female foeticide.

- 75% of the married women in India were underage during the time of their marriage.

- Kerala has the highest female sex ratio.

- In union territories, Daman and Diu has the lowest sex ratio whereas Pondicherry has the highest sex ratio.
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