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India’s census reveals a glaring gap: 914 girls for every 1000 boys

1 June 2011

India’s census reveals a country obsessed by boys and sex-selection laws that no one will enforce. Continuing female foeticide explains why the child sex ratio is getting worse

In the world’s largest democracy a massive crisis of missing girls is unfolding, according to India’s 2011 census. The latest census shows that the gap between the number of girls per 1,000 boys up to the age of six has widened to 914, a decrease from 927 a decade ago, at the 2001 census. In a country where a large part of the population finds it hard to get access to toilets and clean drinking water, access to illegal foetal sex-selection procedures seems easier.

The girl child in India is falling prey to the profit-driven ultrasound industry and doctors who commit foeticide without compunction. The child sex ratio is emblematic of the status of women in the country.

More than a dozen female foetuses were found dumped in a city in eastern Bihar state recently, days before the damning child sex ratio was revealed. Although there has been a fall in the rate of population growth (pdf), awareness of family size is accompanied by a greater preference for boys – a trend seen across class and rural-urban divides.

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