Why in news?
A recent report from the NITI Aayog said sex ratio at birth (SRB) nationwide had dropped from 906 in 2012-2014 to 900 in 2013-2015.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
In all, 17 of 21 large Indian States saw a drop in the SRB, with Gujarat performing the worst, declining 53 points. Also, newer data from India’s Sample Registration System show the SRB fell even further in 2014-2016, from 900 to 898.
UNIQUE CASE FOR INDIA
The number of girls born is naturally lower than the number of boys, and demographers speculate that this may be nature’s way of offsetting the higher risk that men have of dying — male babies are biologically weaker than females, and men have historically seen higher mortality rates owing to risk-taking behaviour and participation in wars.
This evens out the sex ratio of a population as it grows older. But India is a special case. Its SRB is far lower than 952 because of the preference for the male child. This means we are killing girl children in the womb. As on today, around 63 million girls are estimated to be ‘missing’ in India because of such actions.
In 1994, the government took notice and introduced the Prenatal Diagnostics Techniques Act which punishes healthcare professionals for telling expectant parents the sex of a child with imprisonment and hefty fines. In 2003, when technologies that allowed gender-selection even before conception became available, the act was amended to become the Prenatal Conception and Prenatal Determination Act (PC-PNDT).
SOURCE – PIB.