Pradeep Pattanayak

The sex ratio at birth is falling drastically in Odisha, leaving health experts pondering over the reasons why the number of girls keeps falling even though there is a dedicated law to prevent such imbalance. 

At a state-level consultative workshop on the low sex ratio at birth in Odisha held in Bhubaneswar, the director of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bijay Panigrahi informed the gathering that the sex ratio at birth is declining. 

He informed that 948 female babies were born as opposed to 1000 male babies in 2016-18. In 2018-20, 925 female babies were born per 1000 male babies, registering a decline of 23 points. The situation is more alarming in remote areas. 

It’s a matter of concern for health experts and social workers that the gender ratio at birth is declining even though the state has a dedicated Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. 

Also Read: Sex Ratio Improved To 1,020 Females Per 1,000 Males: Eco Survey

While replying to the queries of journalists, Dr Panigrahi said, “The gender ratio at birth has declined by 23 points in the four years. To control this, even though we have the PCPNDT Act in our state, the number of girls keeps falling due to some reasons prevailing in our society. The objective behind organising this state-level workshop is to find out a solution to maintain a balance.”

Echoing the same, the director of the Odisha Health Department, Dr Bijay Mohapatra said, “It is a cause of concern that the number of girls is falling. The number keeps decreasing even though we have a system to address the issue.  So we organised a consultative workshop involving legal experts, health experts, social scientists, and policymakers to find out a solution to sharpen the existing law.”

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