[Answered] “Government policies has failed to arrest malaise of female foeticide in India. Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Causes of female foeticide.
Conclusion. Way forward.

Female foeticide is the killing of a female foetus through illegal methods. The frequency of female foeticide in India is increasing day by day. Despite of enactment of various policies and schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samriddhi yojana, female foeticide continue to increase at an alarming rate. The Indian government enacted Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT) in 1994 to ban and punish prenatal sex screening and female foeticide. But PCPNDT Act has been poorly enforced by authorities leading to female fortified culture in the nation.

Poor state of woman in India:

  1. As per the Sample Registration System (SRS) for the period 2015-2017, the sex ratio at birth (SRB) is dropping continuously since Census 2011, coming down from 909 girls per thousand boys in 2011-2013 to 896 girls in 2015-2017.
  2. An analysis of the NFHS-4 data revealed a bias toward male as the first-born child. The SRB among first-born children was 927, meaning that 2.5% of first-born girls are eliminated before birth.

Reasons for female foeticide:

  1. Cultural preference: There is a strong son preference in India and this leads to a skewed sex ratio towards male over females.
    • Most families prefer son for a variety of social and economic reasons.
    • A son is often seen as an asset and a daughter as a liability.
    • The prospect of parents losing daughters to the husband’s family and expensive dowry of daughters further discourages parents from having daughters.
  2. Bane of cheap technology: Female foeticide has been linked to the cheap ultrasound technology and its widespread adoption in India. Ultrasound has helped in saving many lives but it’s illegal use led to killing of girl child in foetus.
  3. Poverty: Due to lack of development there are gross inequalities in the country that restrict access to resources.
    • Poverty prevent education, and often poor people view girls as liability due to dowry system and perceived notion of girls as burden.
    • This has led to increase in female foeticide.
  4. Poor enforcement of the laws: Although laws are their to prevent female foeticide, their poor implementation has led to less impact on curbing female foeticide crime. Often agencies are unable to nab the criminal.
  5. Deep rooted patriarchy: Patriarchal mindset is deep rooted in India.
    • Most of India, with some exceptions, has strong patriarchal and patrilineal customs, where men hold authority over female family members and inherit family property and title.
    • Not only male even women are tilted towards having male.
    • Unfortunately policies and schemes have made little impact on behaviour and mindset of Indians.
  6. Lack of access to resources: There are significant differences in access to food, healthcare, immunisations between male and female children. This lead to high infant and childhood mortality among girls, which causes changes in sex ratio. It is due to poor socioeconomic status.

Thus, a combination of factors has shaped the imbalanced sex ratio in India. Unfortunately schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao have not been much successful in instilling a behavioural change and change in mindset of Indian people. Although these schemes are starting of a major reform in society. Still there is long way to go with improved education and upliftment socio-economic status of Indian poor.

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