New Delhi: Grappling with the problem of
skewed child sex ratio, Delhi Government on Monday partially
blamed inadequate health infrastructure in neighbouring states
for the decline in number of girls against per thousand boys
in the city.
As per census 2011 data, Delhi`s sex ratio of children up
to six years of age has dropped to 866 girls per 1,000 boys
from 868 girls in 2001. The child sex ratio of Delhi is much
below the national average of 914 which has also seen a
decline from 927 in 2001.
Delhi Women and Child Welfare Minister Kiran Walia said
lack of proper medical infrastructure in neighbouring states
forces pregnant women there to come to Delhi for deliveries
and when a baby dies during or after delivery, it reflects on
statistics of Delhi.
"In most of our hospitals, you will find 30 to 35 per
cent patients from outside Delhi. When women from the
neighbouring areas come to Delhi hospitals and if a baby dies
during or after delivery than it reflects on our statistics,"
she told a press conference, replying to a question on the
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written a letter to
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in September expressing concern
over the the city`s child sex ratio.
Asked whether government has any figures to support the
claim, she said it was a fact that "huge number of women come
from neighbouring states for deliveries and that death takes
place during delivery."
Expressing deep concern over drop in the sex ratio,
Walia, however, also cited general prefernce for boys among a
section in the society as another reason for the skewed ratio.
"The skewed sex ratio is a matter of concern for all of
us. An adverse sex ratio can be a cause for serious socio
economic problems. We are bringing out various schemes to
improve the sex ratio," said Walia.
As per latest statistics, the number of babies dying in
their first year of birth has also increased in the national
capital in 2010 compared to the previous year.
The infant mortality rate per thousand live births in the
national capital has increased to 22.47 in 2010 compared to
18.96 in 2009. The average IMR in the city was 12.08 deaths
per 1,000 children in 2005 which increased to 18 in the year
2006 and then to 25 next year.
Walia said government has launched a week-long programme
on January 18 to spread awareness in protecting the girl
child. The awareness programme is being implemented with the
help of 10,560 anganwadi centres across the city.
"The Delhi government has also entered into an MoU with
UN Women to carry out various measures to improve safety and
security of girls and women in the city," she said.
The Minister said Delhi government in collaboration with
Sun Foundation has launched a video van service to carry the
messages relating to protection of girl child.
She said government plans to set up `Awareness
Celebration Centres` across the city which will work in
educating people about protecting girl child.
Walia said her department will lauch a deworming
programme for children on February 21 under which all children
below age of six years will be offered medicine free of cost.
"The programme is being conceived as it could be an
effective health intervention. Worm infection affects a
child`s overall growth including education. So we have decided
to start the programme," she said.