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Child sex ratio to be monitored on monthly basis

By Our Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI, OCT. 16. The Centre has issued instructions to monitor the child sex ratio on a monthly basis to check the alarming fall in the number of girls as indicated in the Census 2001 report. The Registrar-General of India has asked its State offices to prepare a monthly report of the births to monitor the sex ratio.

"We cannot wait until the 2011 census to check the trends," Suman Prasahar, Joint Director of the Registrar-General of India, said at a workshop, "On Rights of a Girl Child, Women's Empowerment and Universal Birth Registration," organised by the Population Foundation of India and Plan India in association with the Delhi Medical Association.

Birth registration is compulsory under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1969. India is also a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Child. Yet, about 50 per cent of all children born here do not have an identity because their births are never registered. "The issuance of a birth certificate until the age of 10 to all children has also been mandatory. The declining sex ratio needs immediate intervention at the local level," Ms. Prasahar said.

Imbalances

Imbalances set at an early age are difficult to remove and a sex ratio of 933 girls for every 1,000 boys does not augur well for the country, she said adding that the international ratio was 105 boys for every 100 girls. "The deficit has risen from three million in 1901 to 36 million in 2001 which shows the social response and attitude towards the girl child in the recent years, presenting a grim situation."

According to Census 2001 report, there was only one district — Salem in Tamil Nadu — where the sex ratio of girls was below 800 in the 1991 census but in the latest figures the number of districts had risen to 45. The sex ratio fell by 50 points in 60 districts between the two census reports. "The only exceptions were the tribal areas and the unapproachable hill areas where the ratio was respectable," she said. The 10 "best-rated" districts are in Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Sikkim where technology has not reached and nature plays a more dominant role.

Speaking about Delhi, I.P. Dhalla, president of the Delhi Medical Association, said the Government, non-governmental organisations and the medical fraternity should join hands to tackle the situation. Women's empowerment and universal birth registration would go a long way in improving the child sex ratio.

Variations

There are around 2,13,000 registration centres in rural areas and about 40,000 in urban areas. Civil registration varies from State to State. According to Census 2001, the child sex ratio in Delhi is 865 girls per 1,000 boys making it the fifth lowest child sex ratio area. Delhi's proximity to Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh are reportedly responsible for the declining child sex ratio since these States have the lowest such ratio in the country.

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