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Council to boost child sex ratio

Ranchi, April 20: The department of social welfare, women and child development is setting up a sectoral innovation council to arrest the declining child sex ratio (CSR) in Jharkhand.

The move has been initiated following Census 2011 reports that showed sharp fall in the state’s CSR — the number of females per thousand males in the age group of 0-6 years.

As per Census 2011, the sex ration in Jharkhand dropped from 965 to 943 between 2001 and 2011 while at the national level, the number fell from 927 to 914 during the same period.

Notably, the state is among 22 states and five Union Territories which recorded sharp decline in the child sex ratio.

The council, which is being formed under the aegis of ministry of women and child development, will formulate strategies and suggest methods to address the problem in an effective manner.

According to officials at the state social welfare department, the council will comprise 25-30 members from various departments, including health, education and social welfare, and a few social activists working on gender-related issues.

Talking to The Telegraph, principal secretary of the department Mridula Sinha confirmed that the process to set up the council had already begun and the department was awaiting the chief secretary’s nod. “We hope to get the approval by the month end,” she said.

Once formed, the principal secretary said, the council would identify the main reasons behind the decline in the child sex ration.

Moreover, the council members will identify steps which were taken earlier and yielded desired results. Also, they will distinguish earlier interventions that did not work.

The situation is stated to be worse in urban areas.

where female foeticides and sex determination tests, which are among the main reasons behind the fall in the child sex ration, are rampant.

A study conducted by the United Nations Population Fund revealed that over 12,000 female foetus had been destroyed in the state in the last ten years.

Health department officials blamed around 700 registered ultrasound clinics, which were carrying out sex determination tests, for the problem.

While stressing the need for strict actions against mushrooming ultrasound clinics, Unicef state head Job Zachariah said, “We also need to find out who is actually involved in sex determination tests.

He further said, “We need to be active and immediately stop the menace, mainly in urban areas where this practice is rampant.” He expressed hopes that the new council would help highlight the basic reasons that had resulted in the CSR decline.

A.K. Choudhary, director, health services, said they were trying their best to create awareness in the society to fight against female foeticide. “We are also keeping tabs on ultrasound clinics so that they do not carry out sex determination tests,” Choudhary pointed out.