Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions that we encountered in the earlier stages of our preparations for the campaign. You are free to send in your queries and questions. Your questions and our answers, on matters not covered here, will be added to these questions and answers.
Why this hue and cry about falling sex ratio in India, when the sex ratio has actually risen from 933 to 940 between 2001 and 2011?
It is true that the sex ratio of the total population in India has gone up by 7 to 940 in 2011. Probably men die earlier than women because of several unhealthy habits which are prevalent more among men. It is not this sex ratio that worries us but the fact that sex ratio of children in the age group of 0 to 6 has actually gone down during the same period from 927 to 914. Besides, this ratio has been continuously sliding down for the last few decades.
Statistics show that rural India with a child sex ratio at 919 is 17 points higher than urban India. Does this not prove that rural areas are comparatively safer for the girl child?
This is general notion among those who gloss over the predominant figures of the Census data. But a closer look will show that the rural areas are fast catching up with the urban areas. The decline in Child Sex Ratio, among children up to 6 years, in the rural areas has been three times the decline in urban areas during 2001-2011. Besides, the number of districts with the lowest Child Sex Ratio (850 and below) increased in the rural areas, while the number declined in urban areas.
I have seen that the total population of the country increased by 181 million in the decade 2001-2011. Is there no proportionate increase in the number of children between 0 and 6?
Unfortunately NO. While the total population increased by 181 million in 2001-2011, the child population (of children between 0 and 6) came down by 5.05 million. What is intriguing is that of these over five million, decrease in the number of male children is just above 2 million (2.06), while decrease in the number of female children is almost three million (2.99). There is a decline of 2.8 points in 2011, compared to 2001, in the share of children in the total population.
Do all the states and Union Territories of India register all the births in their area? Without proper registration system in place for births, how can the statistics be reliable?
India passed the Registration of Births and Deaths Act in 1969. However, the percentage of birth registration is still 80 per cent of the total. R. C. Sethi, former additional Registrar General of India, said, in 2013, that 11 States show close to 100 per cent registration of births. In the year 2007, the states that had achieved 100% birth registration were the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Nagaland and Union Territories of Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. The situation is much the same in the year 2013. That is why we base our statistics on the Census figures.
Is there really any evidence to prove that minor girls are being bought from poor states by people in rich states to be used as wives or concubines?
There are any numbers of field research papers by official and non-official agencies to prove this. The word used to denote bought wives in North India is ‘Paro’ and it has become a very common name familiar to all people. Besides, there are official records of crime to prove this. The purchase of minor girls, classified as ‘Procuration of Minor Girls’ in crime statistics, has been increasing at an alarming rate in recent years. While only 237 cases were registered in this category in 2009, 679 were registered in 2010 and 862 in 2011. Of course, we all know how most of the cases are left unregistered by our law enforcement authorities.
There are so many campaigns going on in our country for stopping female foeticide. What is the use of one more campaign and what are the results that you are expecting from this particular campaign?
It is true that there have been and there are several campaigns for stopping female foeticide and each of these campaigns succeeded in achieving its objectives up to an extent. We have no intention to slight these efforts. What is relevant is that the issue is still a burning issue and there is need for a more concerted action to reach all the problem areas. Besides, this Campaign is proposed to be a platform to coordinate all the campaigns going on in our country. If you go through the relevant part of our site www.fight4thefoetus.org/fight4thefoetus/goals.php, you will understand that this is a unique and comprehensive campaign that addresses the need of the hour.
Who are the people who can really make a difference in this critical situation?
The people who can really and substantially change the situation are the young people of India. The adolescents, the people of marriageable age, the recently married couples and those still in their reproductive age can make an immediate decision to stop female foeticide here and now. Only the young people will live to enjoy the fruits of the great societal transformation that gender justice and equanimity will usher in. The coming generations will thank them for having brought about the welcome change in all the spheres of social life. This does not mean that people past the middle age must remain bystanders, or have nothing to do in this crisis. They can give moral support and use their great wealth of experience to support the movement and let the young lead the way.
Most of the modern sociologists and progressive thinkers opine that the woman has the freedom to terminate her pregnancy whenever she wants. How can a progressive modern society oppose abortions?
Campaign #Fight4theFoetus is not against rights of women or against abortions in general. The Campaign is against sex selective foeticide, the predetermination of the sex of the foetus and removal of it, if it is female. The prenatal sex selection is clearly against para 4.16 of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) of 1994 agreed upon by the participating 180 countries, including India. All global UN agencies, like WHO, UNWomen, UNICEF and UNFPA, oppose all manifestations of gender discrimination including the problem of imbalanced sex ratios caused by prenatal sex selection. The Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act came into force in 1994 is now called the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act. Apart from all these, the increasing bride-shortage in several parts of India leading to social evils like polyandry, child marriage and purchasing of brides and increase in cases of sexual violence must make all sensible people oppose sex-selective killing of the female foetus to avert a social disaster.
The Government and other agencies, including health workers and social workers, advocate small family norm, family planning, birth control, etc to detonate a population-explosion-like situation in the country. Is not the Campaign against birth control measures?
The Campaign is not against birth-control measures or family planning. The population, whether small or large, should contain sufficient number of women not only for procreation but for a tension-free social life and to maintain the values of social and family life that we are so proud of and that make us admired by the global community. If brides are not available for marriage and men remain unmarried after marriageable age, there will be dangerous increase in social evils and sexual violence as has been already evident in some problem areas and as discussed elsewhere in this site. As a person, whether man or woman, is part of the society and society needs a balanced ratio of men and women for its existence and progress, it is the duty of everyone to see that the natural demographic equilibrium is not upset through interventions like sex selective foeticide.