Child sex ratio in Odisha takes sharp plunge

Bhubaneswar: The rescue of an abandoned infant girl in Koraput today amid concerns stoked by the decline in child sex ratio (as per the data released by the Office of the Register General of India), could be brushed aside as a mere coincidence; or it can be construed as a meaningful occurrence providing insights into how the girl child is still considered ‘unwanted’ in Odisha.

Be it the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ or any other campaign, the girl child is still considered as a ‘burden’ and perhaps such mind-set is so deeply rooted that various campaigns have failed to come to the rescue of girls.

Today’s aforementioned incident, where a two-month-old girl was found abandoned by her parents near a culvert at Kebidi village under Borigumma block of Koraput district, is a glaring example.

It is not the first instance where a newborn girl has been abandoned and ironically such incidents have now become a cause of concern as the latest data shows a sharp decline in the child sex ratio in Odisha.

As per a report published by a national daily, which quoted figures of the Register General of India, there were 919 girls per 1,000 boys in 2007 while the number dropped to 858 in 2016.

The situation is more alarming in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s own constituency in Ganjam. There were 901 girls per 1,000 boys in the district in the year 2010 and the number has plunged to 869 within seven years.

Questions like whether it is female foeticide or lapses in enforcement of ban on illegal sex determination that is driving down the ratio are now haunting several social and child right activists across the country.

“When there is no justice and security, all such campaigns will not yield results. The male-dominant society is yet to realise the importance of girls,” said social activist, Rituparna Mohanty.