According to a report by the Indian Government, there will be a significant drop in the ratio of women to men among India’s young people. The report states that for people between ages 15 to 34, the number of women for every thousand men will drop to 898 by 2031 from 939 in 2011.
Due to the advances made in ultrasound technology, sex-selective abortions have been on the rise since the 1980s. The notion, deeply rooted in patriarchy that a male heir will tend to the ageing parents is very strong among Indians. Dowry demands made at the time of the daughter’s marriage is another important factor that leads to Female Foeticide.
The report also highlights that sex-selective abortion continues despite the fact that fertility among women is declining and the levels of income and education among the majority of the population have increased significantly.
Pointing towards this paradox, Poonam Muttreja, the executive director of the Population Foundation Of India says,“People are selecting to have fewer children but selecting to have boys.”
Poonam further adds that as income levels rise, so do aspirations, and as Indians emerge into the middle class they are limiting the size of their families and focusing their resources on male children, who are seen to offer a better return on investment.
The fertility rate of women in urban areas has come down to just over two children per woman in 2014, down from more than five in 1971.
Understanding about the need to save our daughters and elevate their status in the society, Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated the “Beti Bachao Beti Padao Campaign” that aims to sensitise the masses about the detrimental effects of sex-selection.
A few states like Rajasthan and Haryana have shown great strides in improving their sex-ratio but the overall condition of girls remains abysmally bad. It is high time for Indian citizens to realise that daughters are equally important for the families and nations to flourish.