ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Arjun S BediSubscribe to Arjun S Bedi

Update on Trends in Sex Ratio at Birth in India

With additional data available at more regular intervals on sex ratio at birth, it is easier to track changes without depending on the decennial censuses. However, the diversity of sources also means differences in trends across sources and regions. A brief analysis of the latest available data is presented to identify the most recent trends and concerns in states that need attention, like north-western and eastern states of India.

Coming Back to Normal?

An analysis of data from Censuses 2001 and 2011 shows that despite the increase in overall population sex ratio in this period, the 0-6 sex ratio and 0-1 sex ratio have continued to decline. This suggests that there is no let-up in daughter defi cit. However, one positive factor is that the north-western states which have had a long history of high levels of daughter defi cit have shown an increase in the 0-1 sex ratio. The reasons for this need to be determined. Another positive aspect is that daughter defi cit seems to be lower amongst the younger cohort of currently married women; it will be interesting to see whether this persists as the cohort ages.

Tackling Female Infanticide and Sex Selection in Tamil Nadu

This response to "Declining Child Sex Ratio and Sex Selection in India: A Demographic Epiphany"? (EPW, 18 August 2012) argues that contrary to the assertion in that article, state and non-governmental organisation interventions seem to have played an important role in reversing the decline in the 0-6 sex ratio in Tamil Nadu.

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Birbhum

This study of the functioning of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme between February 2006 and July 2009 in Birbhum district, West Bengal reveals that in order to serve as an effective "employer of last resort", the programme should provide proportionately more job-days during the agricultural lean season and wages should be paid in a timely manner.

Daughter Elimination: Cradle Baby Scheme in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu's two decade old Cradle Baby Scheme tries to ensure that female babies who would otherwise have been killed are given up for adoption. Civil society activists are not happy with the scheme because they feel that it only encourages parents to abandon female babies and is not a substitute for tackling the crime of sex selection and female foeticide. However, until the girl child is welcome in families, such a scheme will be needed.

Girl Child Protection Scheme in Tamil Nadu: An Appraisal

The Girl Child Protection Scheme in Tamil Nadu was introduced in 1992; surveys and data analysis show that between the late 1990s and 2002-03, daughter elimination has declined sharply. However, a close look at the scheme reveals that its implementation is not targeted at districts with a high prevalence of female infanticide, that it assumes only poor families are anti-daughters, and given the sterilisation condition, that families with only daughters and strong son preference are not likely to volunteer. Also, to what extent it has altered attitudes towards daughters - one of its aims - is unclear.

Tamil Nadu and the Diagonal Divide in Sex Ratios

Between 1961 and 2001, India's 0-6 sex ratio has steadily declined. Despite evidence to the contrary, this ratio is often characterised in terms of a diagonal divide with low 0-6 sex ratios in northern and western India and normal 0-6 sex ratios in eastern and southern India. While unexpectedly high rates of female infant mortality have been reported in Tamil Nadu, it is still regarded as lying outside the ambit of states with unusually low 0-6 sex ratios. Based on an analysis of patterns in sex ratio at birth, infant mortality rates and under-5 mortality rates for Tamil Nadu, this paper traces the development of daughter deficit in the state and examines the validity of the diagonal divide in sex ratios across India. We find evidence of daughter deficit in more than half the state's districts with a majority of the shortfall arising before birth. The evidence presented here, combined with earlier work on declining 0-6 sex ratios outside northwestern India, suggests that the diagonal divide is no longer an appropriate distinction.
Back to Top