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The 1991 census reported a child sex ratio (CSR) of 967 girls per 1000 boys. This declined to 953 in the 2001 census and now stands at 941 as per the 2011 census. Skewed sex ratios are already exerting their effect on gender relations. Districts with disturbing ratios have also been facing situations of violence against women, rising crimes against women and trafficking. Stringent control over choices available to women and adherence to patriarchal norms are also enforced on women. It is evident that a paucity of girls does not enhance their value in a society where they already where they already suffer from a subordinate status. The sex ratio is an indicator which describes the number of women per 1000 men for a given population. The child sex ratio (CSR) describes the ratio of girls to boys in the age group of 0-6 years. The sex ratio of a given population is also used as a strong indicator to ascertain social health. In the developed societies where female and male enjoy equal status the women usually outnumber men. The adverse sex ratios not only indicate poor social health, but also a barrier in attaining sustainable social development. The sex ratio of Odisha is 978 and child sex ratio is 941 as per census 2011. Although, the overall sex ratio of the state is good, the variations among districts clearly indicate prevalence of Sex Selective eliminations in the better developed and coastal districts.

Furthermore, the sex ratio at birth that is an important demographic indicator also reflects that 29 out of 30 districts show a decline in sex ratio at birth below 950. The sex composition of a population is determined, in part, by the number of male births relative to the number of female births. The sex ratio at birth also affects critical demographic measures.

Misuse of technology is a major reason responsible for distorting child sex ratio. In order to regulate use and prohibit misuse of technology, the Pre-Conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act enacted in 1994 and amended in 2003 is an important tool for addressing sex selective eliminations and in addressing the declining child sex ratios. The main purpose of the act is to prohibit and regulate the use of diagnostics techniques before and or after conception for sex determinations leading to sex selective elimination of foetus. The provision of the act encompasses creating institutional mechanisms and providing tools to monitor the use of diagnostic techniques for prohibiting sex selection. There is provision of punishment and penalty for those who violate provisions of PC & PNDT Act.

In order to oversee monitoring of PC & PNDT act implementation in the state an

Institutional Mechanism was established. The State Supervisory Body, the State and District level Appropriate Authorities and Advisory Committees have been constituted in Odisha. After the amendment of 2007, the District Magistrates have been notified as the Appropriate Authorities at the district level, whereas, Director Family Welfare is State Appropriate Authority for act implementation. Over and above, task forces have been constituted at the State and District levels to intensify processes for effective implementation of the provisions of the act.

Sex Ratio – Trends in Odisha

Child sex ratio (0-6 years age) - The child sex ratios is a vital indicator to assess status of male female ratios and deviations from normal patterns. The table and maps below indicate child sex ratios in Odisha as per census 1991 and 2001.

Census year

Child Sex Ratios Rural

Child Sex Ratios Urban

Child Sex Ratios Total

1991

969

954

967

2001

949

927

953

2011

946

913

941


The overall decline in the child sex ratio has been reported by 19 points. While there were only 5 districts in 1991 with the CSR below 950, as per 2001 Census data there were 12 districts where the CSR was below 950. As per Census 2011 data, 16 districts are below 950. All these districts are contiguous in the coastal and central region of the state of Odisha. Further, in the recent past there have been reports in the media of alleged sex selective eliminations of female foetus from a few districts of Odisha. The spread of adverse sex ratio patterns are widely spreading in rural areas covering almost all districts.

 

Strategies of the State to Address Sex Selection

The strategies to curb practice of sex selection encompasses all three dimensions namely Implementation of the provisions of act to regulate use of technology, curbing demand of such services through community awareness and actions, and interventions to restrict supply of services through misuse of technology by medical clinics.

 

The three pronged strategy followed in the state is as below –

 

1.      To strengthen institutional mechanisms and establish processes for improved monitoring of PC and PNDT act implementation. A PC & PNDT cell has been established under the State Appropriate Authority (SAA) i.e. The Director Family Welfare in Odisha.

  • The PC and PNDT cell back stops the SAA to stream line processes and strengthen monitoring of the PC & PNDT Act implementation, for organizing capacity building programs for key functionaries on act implementation and establish monitoring and follow up mechanisms.
  • The cell is also engaged in establishing networks among key stakeholders and for creating an enabling environment for the effective implementation of the Act

2.      Supply Side interventions: Involvement of service providers to create peer pressure on those who are involved in unethical practices.

  • Efforts have been made to network with Indian Medical Association (IMA), Indian Radiologists and Imaging Association (IRIA), Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecologists Society of India (FOGSI)- Odisha chapter on the role of medical fraternity to prevent sex selection and to create peer pressure.
  • Orientation workshops are being organized for Medical Students and interns on ethical and legal issues around sex selection to orient “Doctors of Tomorrow”.

3.      Advocacy with key stakeholders to address demand side issues & promote debate, discussions and actions

  • Discussions and consensus building among Civil Society Organisations and NGOs for community education and action to curb sex selection.
  • Active involvement of media for advocacy and community awareness on the issue.
  • Involvement of local self government to initiate community action to promote dignity of girl child
  • Dissemination of information to the family members of pregnant female through ASHAs and AWWs on social and legal issues of sex selection.
  • Orientations of NSS & NYKS to reach the youth with messages against sex selection.

 

 
 
 
 
State PC & PNDT Cell
Directorate of Family Welfare, Orissa
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E-Mail: pndtorissa@gmail.com
Help line no.: 0674-2390656
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