The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) expresses its deep concern at the Census 2011 revelation that the child sex ratio has dropped from 927 to 914 girls per thousand boys, confirming the worst apprehensions of those working to uphold women’s rights. The statistics once again raise serious questions about the direction of development which leads to “growth” without social justice. The continuing devaluation of women in the economic and social sphere, the lack of property rights, and the increasing scourge of dowry are visibly and tragically strengthening son preference trends, which are reflected in the current census figures.
The complete failure of the Central Government and official agencies to take the necessary steps to reverse the trends is reprehensible. The Central Supervisory Board set up to monitor oversee the implementation of the PcPNDT Act has not held a single meeting over the past three years. It is only too obvious that corruption and the clout wielded by corrupt members of the medical profession who, unfortunately, are often supported by their Associations have rendered the Act toothless. So-called monitoring committees at all levels are dominated by those who are being monitored and activists, experts etc. are conspicuous by their absence on these committees. The uncompromising implementation of the Act is absolutely essential if the Census 2021 is to show any improvement in the situation.
This, however, is not enough to remedy the imbalance. While social norms and practices need to be drastically altered and social reform movements must be undertaken to do this, the State has the responsibility to ensure the equal economic, and social rights of all women, girls and children along with a violence-free existence for them. Cascading marriage expenses, sky-rocketing dowry demands, unabated violence inside and outside marital and natal homes along with a host of other factors are responsible for the ever-growing daughter-abhorrence that we are witnessing.
AIDWA urges upon all democratic sections to actively campaign for bringing about the changes in policy, implementation, attitudes and mindset that are necessary to halt this disastrous trend. It demands urgent intervention by the Government to safeguard the girl child’s rights to be born and to a life without discrimination and violence.