FINDING THE DATA ON MISSING GIRLS
- Female foeticide continues to increase at an alarming rate, as per the Sample Registration System (SRS) data released in July for the period 2015-2017.
- At present, about 5% of girls are ‘eliminated’ before they are born, despite the promises of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.
- The sex ratio at birth (SRB) has been dropping continuously since Census 2011, coming down from 909 girls per thousand boys in 2011-2013 to 896 girls in 2015-2017.
- In the 2014-2016 period, of the 21 large States, only two, Kerala and Chhattisgarh — had an SRB of above 950 girls per 1000 boys.
Data from the HMIS:
- Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani quoting data from the Health Management Information System (HMIS) claimed in the Lok Sabha that, Sex Ratio at Birth has improved from 923 to 931 girls per 1000 boys.
- Critics says that, the data from the HMIS, was a flawed source that largely considers home deliveries and births in government institutions.
- Data from the HMIS are incomplete and not representative of the country as a whole as births happening in private institutions are under-reported.
- The HMIS report itself acknowledges that based on the estimated number of births, the number of reported births is much less in both the years considered — 2015-16 and 2018-19.
NFHS – 4 Data’s:
- By using the data from National family Health Survey – 4 (NFHS 4), out of 2.5 Lakh reported births, in the 2010-2014 period, the distribution of births at
- Home – 21% – SRB at 969
- Government hospitals – 52% – SRB at 930
- Private hospitals – 27% 851.
- Private hospitals had a disproportionate excess of male children births, which the HMIS sample excludes.
- NITI Aayog, in its latest report, they consider the data of HMIS, but later on with the statistical examination, they confirmed that the data from the HMIS was unreliable and therefore used SRS.
- The worst regional SRB for government sector was for Northern India (885 girls per thousand boys). The picture was somewhat better for Central India (926) Southern India (940) while the performance of Eastern India (965) and Western India (959) was even better.
- To quantify this bias, data from the NHFS – 4 was used since, in visits to hospitals, particularly private, too often we observed more male children even when the total number of births were small in number.
- In the special neonatal care units (SNCU) set up by the government, there was an excess of about 8% male children in several States.
First born child bias:
- The SRB is among first-born children was 927, meaning that 2.5% of first-born girls are eliminated before birth. This was not the case historically.
- During the inspection all over the country, mainly in UP and Bihar, in the absence of a stringent implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT Act), practically anyone who wants to determine the sex of the foetus is able to get it done illegally.
- The Central Supervisory Board established under the PCPNDT Act has not met for over one-and-a-half years.
Links to note: