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ANDHRA PRADESH

Girls outnumber boys in the State’s capital

Saturday 8 April 2006

Hyderabad’s child sex ratio for 2005 shows 1,014 females per 1,000 males

HYDERABAD: The number of girls born in Hyderabad, for the first time after 100 per cent birth registration began here four years ago, has gone above the number of the boys born. The statistics for 2005 show a staggering 4,000 increase in a single year.

Against 61,770 baby boys, 62,654 girls were born in 2005. This has jacked up the city’s child sex ratio for 2005 to 1,014 females per 1,000 males, which is in stark contrast to the figures of 942 females per 1,000 in 2001and 963 per 1,000 in 1991.

The number of girls born in 2002 was 53,433, against 61,148 boys. This slowly rose to 57,864 in 2003, against 61,024 boys. In 2005, girls finally overtook boys, outnumbering them for eight out of 12 months. This was when girls were stronger, number-wise, in just three of the previous 36 months.

The interesting phenomenon now has top gender specialists, population experts and anti-female foeticide campaigners of the country poring over Hyderabad’s statistics. These include Delhi-based noted gynaecologist and foetal medicine specialist Puneet Bedi, Sabu M. George, a Delhi-based anti-female foeticide campaigner for over a decade and senior IAS officer cum gender specialist Satish Balram Agnihotri. Dr. Bedi, who says the one-year sample (of 2005) is enough for a demographic change, points out that it is a very interesting phenomenon. "There are a lot of things that have to be checked and we cannot rule out a curb on female foeticide as a reason," he told The Hindu .

District Collector Arvind Kumar, who has sent the statistics to Mr. George and Mr. Agnihotri as well, points out that though the increase in girl population cannot entirely be attributed to strict implementation of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act, it could still be one factor.

The city in 2001 had the least child sex ratio in the State at 942 females per 1,000 males, with Ranigunj recording the lowest among wards with 838 females. The low sex ratio had no other explanation, but female foeticide. "Ranigunj, in a 5 km radius, had nearly 100 scan centres!" Mr. Kumar says. Vigorous implementation of the Act, which prohibits selection and passing on information of the sex of the foetus, began in the city in September 2004. So far, the district administration has served 374 notices on 389 scan centres and seized 104 scan machines, of which 87 were released after owners paid fines and gave undertakings that they would not be used for sex selection. More than 90 registrations were suspended and 18 centres/hospitals and three machine manufacturers were being prosecuted. One doctor was also arrested in mid-March for violation of the Act.

See online : The Hindu

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