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Saving the unborn girl child: Are we doing enough?

Pankaj Desai.

Abstract
In early part of this year film actor Amir Khan televised a hard-hitting and soul stirring series on Indian TV Channels titled “Satyameva Jayate”. It successfully showed a mirror to the society which many times didn’t like what it was seeing. As a result attempts were made to shatter the mirror rather than washing the dirty face. But the great thing about mirrors is that they always tell the truth even when shattered to pieces. One such episode covered the ills of prenatal sex determination and sex-selective abortions. It highlighted all relevant issues so well. One fact that clearly emerged was that prenatal sex determination is rampant inspite of the law and efforts to curb this evil are proving unproductive.
While running through different estimates of skewed sex ratios in India one gets variable estimates. In 1992 Amartya Sen calculated that 37 million women were ‘missing’ in India. The UN in 2001 estimated that there were 44 million missing women in India. Data from the census of 2001 suggests that there are only 933 women for every 1000 men in India. This figure has just changed marginally to 941 females for every 1000 males by 2011. Whatever be the figure, one strong fact remains: inspite of the PNDT Act, inspite of so much drum-beating and even after all the resolute efforts ongoing all over the country India is losing almost 7,000 girls daily because of the traditional preference for sons which cause many people to abort female fetuses. This brings us to ponder - are we doing enough? The answer is obviously NO! Some of the main reasons for this are summarized below.


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