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February 16, 2017

Essay - Female Foeticide in India

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Female Foeticide in India - A Serious Challenge for the Society

Overview
  • Female foeticide is a major social evil. 
  • The sex ratio found in 2011 census. 
  • The various reasons behind female foeticide in India 
  • The laws should be more stringent. 
  • Different schemes taken by the government and corporate world. 
  • The mindset of men should be changed.
Female foeticide is a major social evil which is common in many places in India. The parents-to-be go for a test to know the sex of their unborn child and if it is a girl, they go in for abortion. Girl child is regarded as a liability for her parents. Most of the parents prefer to have a son. So, they do not hesitate to discard their unborn daughter. They do not think twice before killing the girl child, though they seriously pray to Durga, Kali and Lakshmi on a regular basis. As a result, the decline in female child population has taken a turn for the worse.

Female foeticide is perhaps one of the worst forms of violence against women where a woman is denied her most basic and Fundamental Right i.e., "the right to life". It is thus the conjunction of two ethical evils i.e. abortion and gender bias. Female foeticide has become a shameful and shocking reality of our nation. It is really shocking that not only uneducated but educated couples are also in want of a son abort girl child which leads to the deteriorating sex ratio in India.


According to 2011 census, the child sex ratio in India was 919 females to 1000 males, which declined from 927 females to 1000 males in the previous decade. Haryana takes the top most position in skewed sex ratio. Other prominent states are Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh etc.

Skewed sex ratios are seen in almost all the states of India, except in North East India and some states of South India. Since 1991, more than 80% of districts in India have shown a reducing sex ratio. Going by this, the next census by 2022 will definitely show a further reduction in sex ratios all over the country. It is horrifying to state that illegal foetal sex determination and sex selective abortion have developed into as Rs. 1000 crore industry in India.

There are number of reasons for female foeticide in a country like India. Extreme poverty with an inability to afford raising a child is one of the reasons.


The dowry system is another reason which forces a poor family to go for gender selective abortion. Apart from this many societies that support female foeticide prefer the boy child to the girl child. Such societies consider men as bread winners in the households and undermine the role of women in raising family income. The male child represents continuity of the family lineage.

Women are often the greatest danger to the girl child because they consent to female foeticide in fear of stigmatisation of raising a girl child. Other factors that enable female foeticide include pride, legalisation of abortion and fear of sexual abuse. Female Foeticide is a social fire or evil that will leave smoke in its own way behind. Female foeticide affects sex ratios and the rate of population growth. Simply saying there are n't enough girls in our country and this will have its own set of problems.

The declining sex ratio is going to affect productivity, fertility ratios and the country as a whole. Crime against women, bride trafficking and health of women are some major effects of female foeticide they cannot be overlooked. To eradicate the menace of female foeticide from the Indian society, one thing that certainly needs to be looked into is the law. Though changing the law or making it stricter will not immediately and completely bring solution, it is a step. There are two laws that need to he looked into, first concerning sex determination and the other about abortion.

Sex selection is covered under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique Act, 2002. Originally there was a Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, but due to the prevalance of pre-conception diagnosis, a newer law was put in order. The government has decided to make the law more 'stringent. The PC and PNDT Act states that no place or doctor is authorised to conduct pre-natal diagnostic techniques except for the purpose of detection of one or more of
  • Chromosomal abnormalities 
  • Genetic metabolic diseases 
  • Haetnoglobinopatheis 
  • Sex-linked genetic diseases 
  • Congenital anomalies 
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 legalises abortion but under certain conditions only. A woman whose physical or mental health is endangered by pregnancy can undergo abortion. Moreover pregnancies due to rape (under 18) or pregnancies in lunatics can be terminated with the consent of a guardian. 
The government recognises that the problem of declining child sex ratio in India has implemented a number of schemes to improve survival and status of girl children in the country. The government has launched the `Save Girl Child Campaign'. Many states have also taken important measures to popularise schemes that intend to spread awareness. `Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' is the worth mentioning scheme launched in 2015 aims at making girls independent both socially and also financially through education. Another scheme, `Sukanya Samridhi Yojana' in 2015 encourages people to save for girl child's education and marriage. Apart from these the other schemes include Laadli, Ashraya, Dhanalakshmi and so on. Government schemes like Laadli has created gender revolution in the national capital and impacted sex ratio in favour of the girl child. 
Corporate initiatives such as `Beti Ek Anmol Ratan' scheme in which the donations are invested in mutual funds, Kisan Vikas Patra and National Savings Certificates in the name of new born girls and on maturity (21 years) to be utilised for higher education or marriage, has found favour with the parents and the scheme is yielding positive results. Girls need equal access to education, nutrition, health, employment like boys. Girls should be treated as equal citizen, not a subservient being. 
To conclude, we may say, days are not so far, when there may be emergence of the situation where brides will not be available for the marriage of the sons to maintain lineage. 
Thus, it is felt that the mindsets of the people should be changed right from now towards the importance of the girl child in the family. There is an urgent need to alter the demographic composition of India's population and to tackle this brutal form of violence against women. Application of the stringent law is not sufficient, we all have some moral responsibilities towards eradicating the social evil. 

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Pervade spread through
  • Deteriorating become progressively worse
  • Skewed biased or distorted
  • Undermine lessen the power or ability
  • Lineage direct discent from an ancestor
  • Stigmatisation to accuse or condemn
  • Eradicate remove completely
  • Pre-natal before birth
  • Lunatics a person who is mentally ill
  • Implement put into effect
  • Revolution a forcible overthrow of a system in favour of a new system
  • Yielding generating a financial returns
  • Emergence coming to light
  • Demographic related to the structure of population
  • Brutal cruel or wicked
  • Enactment the process of making or passing law
  • Adhere to being faithful to.

shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
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