Sex ratio further declines in Odisha

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Sex ratio further declines in Odisha

Friday, 26 November 2021 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR

In a matter of concern, the sex ratio in Odisha is on the decline.

The sex ratio at birth for children born in the last five years stands at 894 female for 1,000 male against 932 in 2015-16. This was revealed from the National Family Health Survey 2020-21 (NFHS-5), whose report was out on Wednesday.

What has pressed the panic button is the fact that the child sex ratio at birth had not declined in this year’s report only. It also had declined in the last report (NFHS-4) published for the year 2015-16.

The sex ratio at birth for children born in the last five years (females per 1,000 males) stood at 894 in 2020-21, which was 932 in 2015-16 and 963 in 2005-06.

In urban areas, the ratio came down from 966 in 2015-16 to 950 in 2020-21. The figure in rural areas is on a dangerous path because the gender gap is getting widened.

In rural Odisha, the child sex ratio at birth declined to 855 in 2020-21 from 926 in 2015-16.

Since overall sex ratio has improved from 1,036 in 2015-16 to 1,063 during 2020-21, the decline of sex ratio at birth raises alarm. At the national level, there is an improvement from 919 in 2015-16 to 929 during 2019-21 on the sex ratio at birth. The decline in Odisha is very sharp. Experts feel that people in the rural areas still follow the patriarchal values and increasingly prefer sons to daughters.

As cases of abuse against women are rising day by day that is also leading people in the urban areas to prefer boys since they now feel that girls are not safe and hence a burden, said a sociologist.

A health expert opined that the small family norm coupled with easy availability of sex determination tests and pre-conception sex selection facilities is also behind the declining sex ratio.

The NFHS-5 was conducted on population, health, and nutrition for India and each State/Union Territory (UT). In Odisha, the information was gathered from 26,467 households, 27,971 women, and 3,865 men.

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