Deficit of Girls in India
Dr. Vibhuti Patel, Director, Dept. of P.G. Studies & Research
Professor & Head, Department of Economics,
SNDT Women’s University, Churchgate, Mumbai-400020.
E-mail- firstname.lastname@example.org Phone-91-022-26770227, mobile-9321040048
Selective elimination of female foetuses and selection of male at a preconception stage contributes to more and more ‘missing girls’. Legacy of continuing declining sex ratio in India in the history of Census of India has taken new turn with widespread use of NRTs in India. NRTs are based on principle of selection of the desirable and rejection of the unwanted. In India, the desirable is the baby boy and the unwanted is the baby girl. The result is obvious. The Census results of 2001 have revealed that with sex ratio of 927 girls for 1000 boys, India had deficit of 60 lakh girls in age-group of 0-6 years, when it entered the new millennium.
Female infanticide was practiced among selected communities, while the abuse of NRTs has become a generalised phenomenon encompassing all communities irrespective of caste, class, religious, educational and ethnic backgrounds. Demographers, population control lobby, anthropologists, economists, legal experts, medical fraternity and feminists are divided in their opinions about gender implications of NRTs. NRTs, in the context of patriarchal control over women’s fertility and commercial interests are posing major threat to women’s dignity and bodily integrity. The supporters of sex selective abortions put forward the argument of “Women’s Choice” as if women’s choices are made in social vacuum. In this context, the crucial question is- Can we allow Asian girls to become an endangered species?
Asian countries are undergoing a demographic transition of low death and birth rates in their populations. The nation-states in S. Asia are vigorously promoting small family norms. India has adopted two-child norm and China has ruthlessly imposed ‘one child per family’ rule. Sex ratios in Europe, North America, Caribbean, Central Asia, the poorest region- sub Saharan Africa are not favourable to women as these countries neither kill / neglect girls nor do they use (New Reproductive Technologies) NRTs for production of sons.