Gujarat puts brakes on declining child sex ratio

Gujarat map
Ahmedabad, April 18: The 2011 census reveals that Gujarat has managed to halt the speedy decline in child sex ratio in the previous decade, but it still has a long way to go as the current ratio is below the national average. Also, the overall sex ratio has declined a bit.

In the 90s, the child sex ratio (age group of zero to six years) had slipped to 883 girls for every 1,000 boys from 928 girls for every 1,000 boys in the previous decade.

Now the ratio stands at 886, as per the 2011 census.

The declining child sex ratio worried the authorities as well as the civil society, which led to the campaign beti bachao andolan''.

Government roped in community leaders, religious leaders, women's groups and NGOs for this.

"This (marginal increase in the ratio) is certainly the effect of various campaigns," said V N Maira, Principal Secretary (planning).

But sociologist Gaurang Jani said, "The national figure is 914. In comparison, the ratio in Gujarat is very low."

It was good that the decline in the sex ratio had been halted, but a great effort was required to bring about a parity, Jani said.

Further, he said, the phenomenon of skewed sex ratio seemed to be spreading. "Earlier, skewed sex ratio was observed in two-three communities of the state, but now it is seen in number of other communities, including the tribals.This is a worrying." 

"The efforts taken by the government to save the girl child will bear fruit in the next few years," Maira said, when asked about the lower sex ratio in Gujarat compared to the rest of the country.

"We have to see a trend...all India figure shows a decline from 927 to 914, while the trend has been reversed in Gujarat," he said.

The lowest child sex ratio (836) was recorded in Surat district, followed by Mehasana (845) and Gandhinagar (847).

Meanwhile, the overall sex ratio in the state has declined from 920 women per 1,000 men to 918. "There is only a marginal decline in the overall sex ratio," said Manish Bharadwaj, Director of Census operations.


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