India

Maharashtra's Sex Ratio: Sex Ratio at birth declines to 899

16 Apr 2017 | By Ramya Patelkhana

The sex ratio in Maharashtra has declined by eight points in 2016 compared to 2015, a state health department report has revealed.

According to the report, the ratio of girls per 1,000 boys at birth fell to 899 in 2016 from 907 in 2015.

The report was prepared based on the Civil Registration System under the Birth and Death Registration Act.

In context: Declining sex ratio in Maharashtra

16 Apr 2017Maharashtra's Sex Ratio: Sex Ratio at birth declines to 899

MaharashtraPune registers the second-highest decline at 53 points

Mumbai's sex ratio at birth -936 girls for 1,000 boys- is considered far from a crisis situation; in 2015 it was 926, down from 931 in 2014.

In Pune, which maintained an upward trend until 2014, it fell to 838 in 2016 from 891 in 2015.

The worst decline was recorded in Washim (62 points); Pune and Osmanabad registered the second-highest decline (53 points).

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Ideal sex ratio: 951 girls for 1,000 boys

The ideal sex ratio at birth is 951 girls for every 1,000 boys. Dr. P Arokiasamy of the International Institute for Population Sciences stated, "If the number of girls born is less than 920, we can safely assume there is discrimination against the girl child."
Births are 100% registered in cities and not rural areas

Urban, Rural AreasBirths are 100% registered in cities and not rural areas

Dr. Arokiasamy said 100% births are registered only in cities.

He added in rural areas, either the children aren't born in institutions or the births aren't registered, leading to incomplete records.

On the contrary, the report noted Bhandara registered the highest rise with 78 points, followed by Parbhani and Latur.

Beed, which ranked the lowest in 2011, showed an upward trend in 2016.

ExpertsWorrisome trend: 21 districts report a decline

Experts said the report indicates male child preference is still predominant and sex-selective abortions are still prevalent.

State Family Welfare Bureau's Additional Director Patil said the trend is worrisome as 21 districts in Maharashtra reported a decline.

Underlining easy access to medical technology is one of the primary reasons, she said. Additionally, stringent laws need to be enforced while public participation is also essential.

Social activist Sudha Kankaria's statement

"Prevailing customs like dowry and the excessively glorified notion of the male child's role in many rituals, including cremation, continues to have a lot of bearing on the psyche of society. That needs to be changed through awareness and sensitisation programmes."
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Sex SelectionLaws need to be reviewed and amended

Pune Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society President Dr. Pankaj Sarode said the report findings indicate sex selection.

She said, in terms of survival, girls are stronger. The ratio should be in favor of girls; if not more, equal to the number of boys.

She added Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act needs to be reviewed and amended; it currently focuses on scrutiny than nabbing culprits.

Sex ratio at birth more accurate than child sex ratio

Child sex ratio is influenced by several factors like under-registration of girls, differential infant-and-child mortality, and age misreporting. Therefore, sex ratio at birth (number of girls born per 1,000 boys) is more accurate and a refined indicator of the extent of prenatal sex selection.