Declining Sex Ratio – A matter for deep concern: Prof M S Swaminathan
In the excitement of election news, information of great importance to the future of our nation, appearing in small print tends to get overlooked. According to a report released by the Delhi government this week, the sex ratio in Delhi is now 758 females per 1000 males in contrast to 868 females per 1000 males recorded in the last Census. This steep fall in sex ratio is a matter for deep concern since such a fall can be due to poor maternal health, female infanticide and female foeticide. Malnutrition induced morbidity rates among women have increased. Such an adverse sex ratio not only undermines the concept of gender justice and equity, but also deprives the nation of a creative and compassionate human resource. Nearly in all convocations, the prize winners are women. It is also morally and spiritually wrong to adopt measures which can bring down the male – female ratio. This is why in the Population Policy Committee I chaired in 1994, we have suggested that every Panchayat or local body should prepare a socio-demographic charter, which should include information on sex ratios at birth. While female infanticide has now by and large been brought under control, female foeticide still continues because of the technology of sex prediction. Our nation can never progress if the present situation continues and it is sad that the capital of India, Delhi should set such a bad example. I hope such issues will receive the attention of Central and State Governments after the various newly elected governments settle down. There is no time to relax in the area of protecting the girl child.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.