Human Rights group concerned over falling Uttarakhand child-sex ratio; complains to NHRC

By TCN News,

The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), in a recent report titled, ‘The State of Female Foeticide in Uttarakhand’ has found that the child sex ratio i.e. number of girls per 100 boys in Uttarakhand is set to fall drastically to a little over 800 by the 2021 census.

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ACHR has also filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India to address findings in the report.

The report was based on figures from the Annual Health Survey (AHS), conducted by the registrar general and the census commissioner of India.

AHS reveals that the sex ratio at birth (SRB) in Uttarakhand was 861 in 2011-2012 and 867 in 2012-2013. If the under-five mortality rate of 48 deaths per 100 births in Uttarakhand is taken into account, the child sex ratio reduces to 813 in 2011-2012, and 819 in 2012-2013.

The report says that Uttarakhand has the 7th lowest child sex ratio (CSR) in the age group of 0-6 years among 35 States/UTs of India as per the 2011 census with CSR of 890 girls per thousand boys.

As per the statement of Health Minister J P Nadda before the parliament on 3 March 2015 during 2009 to December 2014, not a single conviction was secured under the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT Act), 1994 in Uttarakhand.

On the implementation of the Nanda Devi Kanya Yojana (NDKY) launched in 2009 and renamed as Hamari Beti Hamara Abhiman (HBHA) in 2014, the report stated that Uttarakhand government failed to achieve its primary objectives to reduce gender imbalance in child sex ratio, prevent female foeticide and provide social and economic security to the girl child.

The NDKY is extended only to Below Poverty Line and hence this entirely fails to take into account the fact that those above the poverty line are the ones that can afford to have sex selective abortion and are therefore left outside the ambit of the scheme.

The figures shows that the scheme only benefitted about 4.97% BPL families, when there were over 6 lakh BPL families as per a survey conducted by the state government in 2011-2012.
In terms of those born, as per the 2011 census, a total of 2,50,803 females in the age group of 0-2 years or an average of 83,601 girls are born annually in Uttarakhand.

If only 30,830 beneficiaries were extended benefits under the NDKY from 2009 to 2015, it implies that 6,166 girls were given benefits annually against the birth of 83,601 girls i.e 7.37% of the girls born annually.

The report casts serious doubts whether actual beneficiaries are benefitting at all under the Nanda Devi Kanya Yojana.

It also suspects that the utilization certificates (UCs) of the NDKY provided to the Asian Centre for Human Rights by the authorities under the Right to Information (RTI) Act have been prepared only to be shared under the RTI Act. Except one UC submitted by District Program Officer (DPO) of Almora, all other UCs have no date, reference number and official stamp. In the absence of all these, authenticity of the UCs is highly doubtful, ACHR said in the report.