Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Now, good news from Haryana

The sex ra­tio is im­prov­ing in a state once in­fa­mous for foeti­cide

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OO n Jan­uary 22, 2015, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi chose Pa­ni­pat, Haryana, to launch the Beti Bachao, Beti Pad­hao (Save the girl child, ed­u­cate the girl child) na­tional cam­paign. Mr Modi’s choice wasn’t un­ex­pected: the state, no­to­ri­ous for foeti­cide and fe­male in­fan­ti­cide, had the worst child sex ra­tio (the num­ber of girls for ev­ery

1,000 sons) among In­dian states in the

2011 census. Haryana’s child sex ra­tio was 834, com­pared with the na­tional av­er­age of 919. Things have changed since.

The state’s suc­cess in pre­vent­ing fe­male foeti­cide is ev­i­dent in the num­bers re­leased by the Haryana gov­ern­ment this week. The sex ra­tio at birth in the state in 2017 has shown a clear im­prove­ment, the best in 16 years. Out of the 5,09,290 chil­dren born in the state dur­ing the year (Jan­uary 2017 to De­cem­ber 2017), there were 2,66,064 boys and 2,43,226 girls, which is a marked im­prove­ment . The sex ra­tio at birth in the state is now 914. To­day at least 12 Haryana dis­tricts have a sex ra­tio of 900 or more. What is also re­mark­able is that some of the worst of­fend­ers, which were part of Haryana’s gen­der crit­i­cal dis­trict list — Ma­hen­der­garh, Re­wari, Soni­pat and Jha­j­jar — with a child sex ra­tio below 800 in the 2011 census, have shown marked im­prove­ment of 136, 91, 88 and 96 points re­spec­tively.

One of the big­gest rea­sons for this turn­around is a crack­down on sex selec­tion tests which has bro­ken the nexus be­tween un­eth­i­cal doc­tors, quacks, un­trained health work­ers and ul­tra­sound tech­ni­cians. Along with the fear of law, the so­cial stigma against peo­ple ac­cused of foeti­cide is grow­ing.

As al­ways, though, there is room for im­prove­ment in the cam­paign. An anony­mous on­line com­plaint por­tal where peo­ple can blow the whis­tle on un­reg­is­tered doc­tors op­er­at­ing ul­tra­sound machines is yet to be launched. Although Haryana’s suc­cess story, along with those of Ma­ha­rash­tra and Tamil Nadu, two other states that have showed sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in the sex ra­tio, is worth ap­pre­ci­at­ing, the states, and in­deed, all In­dia would do well to now start fo­cus­ing on the con­tin­u­ing vi­o­lence against women in the form of heinous rapes and mur­ders.

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