Betivadhaao Abhiyan

Background

The practice of sex selective abortion has been a critical influencer of skewed sex ratios. It has, therefore, been sought to be legally regulated or termed illegal in some countries of the world, and India is one of them. There is a little doubt that strong socio-cultural and religious biases and a preference for sons in some communities have shaped societal attitudes in preference of the son. In many parts of India, community customs such as the practice of dowry are perceived as a financial burden on the bride‘s family during and after marriage. Women bearing male children are treated with respect in the community and a son is considered as a security for old age.

That son preference is a common, widespread social characteristic is not new. But the last few decades have witnessed the unfolding of a disturbing, and now alarming trend – to give son preference that tiny, sleek, technological nudge through the misuse of prenatal diagnostic technologies. This technological assistance – from the mid-1980s onwards – created such a powerful opportunity for people who wanted to somehow not have a baby girl that a medical boon soon transformed into its other avatar, of a sinister machinery, even industry, that started to show the negative impact unnatural, human-aided sex selection could have on sex ratios in different parts of the country.

With a view to address the implementation concerns of Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 has been implemented in State since 1994. Department of Health and Family Welfare, GoG started "BetibachaaoAbhiyan” from 2006, which has been renamed as "BetivadhaaoAbhiyan” in 2008. State has established PC & PNDT Cell at state level and district level for stringent implementation of the Act. The establishment of PC & PNDT Cell in the State has facilitated in strengthening institutional mechanisms. Key stakeholders have been oriented; addressing sex selection requires collaborative efforts in harmony with different constituencies, which is process intensive and time taking. Also in order to oversee monitoring of PC & PNDT act implementation in the state an Institutional Mechanism was established. The State Supervisory Body, the State and District level Appropriate Authorities and Advisory Committees have been constituted. Over and above, task forces have been constituted at the State and District levels to intensify processes for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act.

Situational Analysis

Trends of different Sex Ratios, Gujarat & India

Child Sex Ratio (CSR) (0-6 Years)

1991

2001 (Point changed)

2011 (Point changed)

Gujarat

928

883 (-45)

890 (+7)

India

945

927 (-18)

919 (-8)

Source- Census of India

Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB)

2001

2011 (Point changed)

2013

Gujarat

837

909 (+72)

911

India

894

906 (+12)

909

Source- Sample Registration System (SRS)

  • It is evident from above tables that Gujarat has been successful in not only arresting the decline of Child Sex Ratio (CSR) by 45 points in the previous decade (1991 – 2001) and has been able to improve the CSR by 7 points in the last decade (2001-2011).
  • Out of 28 states of India, Gujarat is one of the 10 States which have shown increasing / improving trend of Child Sex Ratio (CSR) as per Census 2011. The performance of Gujarat in qualitative terms is significant as a major State in the country since Haryana and Punjab have shown significant improvement but from very low base level where as Gujarat has shown improvement from 883 (2001) to 890 (2011).
  • While the Child Sex Ratio in Gujarat has shown positive trend in the last decade, but the CSR at the National level has declined by 8 points from 927 to 919 in the last decade.
  • Further, Gujarat has made a substantial improvement in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) registering an increase of 72 points in the last decade from 837 (2001) to 909 (2011) which ultimately will result in improved Child Sex Ratio over a period of time.
  • It is pertinent to mention that Sex Ratio at Birth in Gujarat State (837) was significantly lower than the National average (894) in 2001 while the current SRB of Gujarat (909) is higher than the National average (906) in 2011.
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