Varsha JoshiDelhi census chiefSomething'sreally wrong here and something has to be done to put things right”
Saturday, April 5, 2014
How girls are valued varies widely across India. Over the years, most states in the south and north-east have been kind to their girls, and sex ratios are above the national average.
In the matrilineal societies of Kerala and Karnataka in the south and Meghalaya in the north-east, women have enjoyed high status and commanded respect. But the latest census figures show the good news even in these areas could be turning bad. A minor decline in the number of girls has begun in the three states which, campaigners worry, might be indicative of a trend.
What is seen as most distressing is the steep decline in the number of girls under seven in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh and in Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura in the north-east. Even though these states have registered numbers much higher than the national average, the decline is too substantial to ignore.
But all is not lost. Some states, such as Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh - which saw the gap between numbers of boys and girls widen in 2001 - have shown an improvement. That is cause for some cheer, campaigners say.