ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Missing Girl Child

The Census 2001 has revealed some interesting and worrying features with regard to sex ratios which calls for some explanation. For example, the overall improvement in sex ratio in favour of females may be explained by the fact that female death rates have become lower than the male death rates. But the sex raio at birth (SRB) becoming more favourable to males has, however, influenced the overall sex ratio in the opposite direction, which is reflected in the adverse child sex ratio. Child sex ratios in Punjab and Haryana, especially with the adverse sex ratio at birth of point towards rampant practice of female foeticide along with a certain amount of infanticide in these two states. The fact that Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal both have registered an improvement in overall sex ratio between 1991 and 2001, but with the child sex ratio declining sharply requires a detailed probing. Interestingly all the states that have shown large declines in child sex ratio between 1991 and 2001 - Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chandigarh and Delhi - are economically well developed and have recorded a fairly high literacy rate. This is contrary to expectation and needs to be examined.

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