As India gets richer and more families get access to sex-selection procedures, the number of girls born in the country continues to decline.
In 2011, the sex ratio stood at 914 girls to 1000 boys, the lowest since Independence, prompting then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call it a "national shame."
Citing recently released government census data, the Business Standard reported today that even as per capita income has increased nearly 10 times, the total fertility rate fell from 5.9 in 1960 to 2.5 in 2012 and to 2.4 in 2014, over the past 65 years. At the same time, the sex ratio went from 946 girls to 1000 boys to 887 girls to 1000 boys.
Delhi, for instance, has the second highest per capita income of ₹221,219 in 2013-14, but its sex ratio is at 896, BS reported. The world average is 971.
Other countries in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa show a similar trend.
An article published by the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Abnormal sex ratios in human populations: Causes and consequences, BS reported, said that when fertility rates are low "by choice or coercion," then "female births must be prevented to allow for the desired number of sons within the family size norm."
Citing government census data, the International Business Times reported that working women in India have lesser number of children, but with a preference for a boy child.
Given the crisis at hand, The Hindu pointed out that the Modi government's "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" campaign will enter its third year in January, and there is an urgent need to assess its implementation. "A wider assessment needs to be made on why States such as Tamil Nadu with a strong social development foundation have slipped on sex ratio at birth (834)," the newspaper said.
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