Haryana saves more girls, but 9 districts fall behind

Chandigarh, Feb 19 (IANS) The 2001 census showed that Haryana had the worst male-female ratio in India. Since then, it has had partial success in reversing the imbalance, but a negative trend shown by nine out of 21 districts in the last one year threatens to undo the good work.

For a state which had the lowest overall sex ratio (for all ages) among states at 861 females per 1,000 males and a dismal 819 females per 1,000 males in the 0-6 years category in the 2001 census, latest trends till October 2009 had shown a marked improvement in the sex ratio.

Figures obtained by the state government from birth records in all 21 districts till October 2009 have revealed that the sex ratio at birth (0-6 years) had improved considerably from 819 females in 2001 to 852 females per 1,000 males.

The success has however been partially negated by a worsening of the sex ratio in nine districts, including relatively richer districts.

The biggest failure has been in Panipat district, known for its textiles, carpet, pickles and other industries, where the sex ratio has in just one year dropped from 857 females (October 2008) to 830 females (October 2009) per 1,000 males .

Panchkula district, which adjoins state capital Chandigarh and has a predominantly urban population, has seen a drop from 884 in October 2008 to 871 in October 2009.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s home district Rohtak has also witnessed a fall from 838 females for 1,000 males in October 2008 to 827 in October 2009.

Sirsa, the home district of opposition leader and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, has also seen a drop from 908 in October 2008 to 890 in October 2009.

Other districts that have gone backwards between 2008 and 2009 are Bhiwani, Jind, Karnal, Mewat and Sonipat.

In contrast, the relatively poorer district Jhajjar has seen an improvement in the sex ratio from 793 in October 2008 to 833 in October 2009.

‘The state government has initiated a number of measures to check female foeticide like raiding ultrasound centres illegally conducting sex determination tests and rewarding village panchayats which show an improvement in sex ratio. This has led to the reversal in the trend of adverse sex ratio in many areas,’ a senior state government official told IANS.

Among villages, Pilana in Rohtak district showed the best sex ratio of 1,176 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2008.

Badsa village in Jhajjar district had the worst sex ratio at 665 females per 1,000 males.

Panchayats get a reward of Rs.100,000 for having the best sex ratio in the district. A reward of Rs.500,000 is now being offered to the village with the best sex ratio in the state.

In the 2001 census, neighbouring state Punjab had the second worst sex ratio, with 874 females for 1,000 males in all age groups. In the 0-6 age category, Punjab was the worst in the country, with just 793 girls for every 1,000 boys.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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