Prime Minister concerned over declining sex ratio
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 01, 2011, 23:54
New Delhi: Viewing with serious concern the declining sex ratio, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written to all chief ministers asking them act in a swift and concerted manner to check pre-natal sex determination which continues to be a "challenge" in most places.

Singh has asked the Chief Ministers to provide personal leadership as he laid emphasis on spreading awareness on the issue by involving civil society, including religious and community leaders, besides political representatives as part of "policy and programmatic action" to end discrimination against females.

The child sex ratio, measured as the number of girls between the ages of 0 and 6 years to 1000 boys in the same age group, has declined from 927 to 914 in 2011 as per the provisional census 2011 data, he pointed out in his letter.

"This is a matter of serious concern and it is with great anguish that I write to you on this very important subject," the identical letters said asking the CMs to respond.

"The disaggregated data for states and UTs reveal a picture that is even more alarming than the average child sex ratio for the country," Singh said while highlighting the data of individual states.

Asserting that discrimination and social prejudice against women needed to be tackled at all stages, he said "we need strong action against pre-birth sex selection using modern diagnostic technologies and neglect of the girl child once she is born."

Noting that implementation of law on pre-natal sex determination "continues to be a challenge in most areas", he said "the need of the hour is to strengthen monitoring and inspection mechanisms for strict and effective implementation of the law by states and UTs."

"I would earnestly request you to consider putting in place a concerted plan of action to strengthen the implementation of the PC (pre-conception) and PNDT (pre-natal sex determination) Act and involve all sections of civil society, including religious and community leaders and political representatives, to spread awareness and remove the lingering prejudices against women in our society," the PM told the CMs.

"I would also urge you to provide personal leadership in this matter and ensure swift and stringent punishment against violators of the law," he said.

In addition to strong implementation of the PC and PNDT Acts, there is a need to take a series of steps to make the society a better place for girls to be born, survive and prosper, the Prime Minister said.

He stressed the need for "policy and programmatic action" on several fronts to end discrimination against the female foetus, the girl child, the adolescent girl and the woman.

"We already have many programmes to deal with these issues. There are central programmes for the benefit of women and children. I am sure you have special programmes in your states.

"The need of the hour, however, is take a holistic look at them, strengthen their implementation from the perspective of problems on hand and identify and fill programmatic, policy and legislative gaps," Singh said.

The sex ratio in some states has seen greater decline. Among these are Andhra Pradesh with 18-point drop, Chhattisgarh with 11-point drop and Bihar with 9-point decline.


First Published: Thursday, September 01, 2011, 23:54

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