A new report shows that the sex ratio in newborns in India is too low, with only 0.2% of babies being male and 1.6% female.
The report, “Sex Ratios in Newborns,” is being released in Mumbai on Sunday, the last day of the annual meeting of the Indian Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
The study by the National Council for Research and Development and the Centre for Science in Society shows that between 2009 and 2014, India’s sex ratio was 3.3 men per 100 women.
However, in 2015, the sex ratios rose to 4.2 men per 1,000 women, with the sex gap widening further.
The sex ratios are in fact, much higher than the population at large.
“India has one of the highest male and female sex ratios in the world.
However for women, this ratio is much lower than the global average of 4.5 men per 1000 women.
This is a very worrying development, as it means that the proportion of girls is not growing as fast as boys,” said Dr Anuj Prakash, chairman of the NCSOD.
“In fact, the proportion is much higher in some states.
We need to take action to fix this,” he added.
The new report also suggests that a major factor behind this is the availability of male contraception.
According to the report, only 1.5% of newborns were provided male contraceptives in India in 2015.
This figure was higher than in other developing countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, where less than one-third of newborn males were given male contraceptives.
“A lot of people are unaware of the fact that there are very few available male contraceptives and that the contraceptive efficacy of male contraceptives is not the same as female contraceptives.
This problem is a big one for our society,” said Prof. Kailash Kumar, a researcher and president of the National Centre for Scientific Research and Education (NCSRE).
“I am sure that it will take a long time before the birthrate starts to improve,” he said.
The gender gap in India has also been widening.
Between 2009 and 2015, women in India accounted for 51.5 per cent of the total population and the proportion was only 5.1 per cent in 2015 after adjusting for population size.
The ratio has grown to 56.7 per cent since 2009.
“While the birth rate is rising, we are losing population.
The increase in population is a concern and a major one.
However there are solutions,” said A.B. Bhargava, president of The Birth Foundation, a women’s rights organization.
“It is time for the government to act on the issue of sex ratio and ensure that our newborns are given the best possible birth control,” he told The Hindu.
Dr Bhargavas remarks came a day after the Supreme Court issued a nationwide injunction against the practice of male sterilisation in India, saying that it was a violation of human rights and could constitute an offence under the Prevention of Atrocities (Prevention of Ataxia) Act.
The court said that the practice was harmful to the health of women and children.
“The use of male contraceptive is an act of aggression against women, especially when it is done by a man,” Justice Dipak Misra said.
A recent study by The Lancet Medical Group on gender-based violence has revealed that nearly half of the cases of violence against women in Asia and Africa are committed by men.
The number of women murdered by men in India rose to nearly 2,000 last year from a few thousand in 2009.
However the report also found that women were often the victims of violence in India.
“This suggests that the prevalence of male violence is rising due to a lack of resources and a perception of impunity for perpetrators,” said Professor Kailush Kumar, chairman and co-founder of the NCSRE.
“However, there are other reasons that may be contributing to the rise in male violence.
This should be tackled through a holistic approach to address the underlying causes and how to prevent violence,” he continued.
The NCSRe has launched a campaign called “Change India for Women” in an attempt to tackle the issue.
“We have launched a Change India for All campaign to highlight the fact of the male violence against the women, in particular against women of the lower castes, in India,” Dr Bhargeas said.