Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
Now, good news from Haryana
The sex ratio is improving in a state once infamous for foeticide
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.