A new study has warned that in the next two decades, large parts of India will have an excess of young men by up to 20 percent because of sex selection. It also said that a preference for sons, combined with easy access to sex-selective abortions, has led to significant imbalances in the male/female population and could have long-lasting implications.
20 per cent more men than women in India by 2030
India will have 20% more men than women in the next two decades, thanks to sex-selective abortion and craze for male child in some states, according to a new study.
Conducted by Dr Therese Hesketh and co-authors from the UCL Centre for International Health and Development, London, and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Tuesday, the study says easy access to sex-selective abortions, has led to significant imbalances in the male/female population in China, India and South Korea.
The sex ratio at birth (SRB) - the number of boys born to every 100 girls - is consistent in human populations, where about 105 males are born to every 100 females.
The study says, in India there are also marked regional differences in SRB. Incompleteness of birth registration makes it difficult to accurately calculate SRB.
However, using the closely related ratio of boys to girls under the age of six, it is found that there are several states in the north and west such as Punjab, Delhi and Gujarat that have sex ratios as high as 125. In the south and east, several states - such as Kerala and Andhra Pradesh - have sex ratios of around 105.
"India is now reported to have an SRB of around 113, which is down from a peak of around 116," Dr Hesketh said.
According to the study, there are already laws forbidding foetal sex determination and sex- selective abortion in China, India and South Korea.
"South Korea has only enforced the law strongly. In China and India, sex-selective abortion is still carried out with impunity by medical personnel, usually qualified doctors, in hospitals and clinics, not in backstreet establishments. This makes the failure of government to enforce the law all the more surprising," the study says.
"A common pattern is that if the first- or second-born are girls, then couples often ensure the second or third child is a boy," its adds.
A consistent pattern in all three countries is the gender of the preceding child.
"If the first child is a girl, couples will often sex select to ensure a boy in the second pregnancy especially where low fertility is the norm. A large study in India showed that for second births with one preceding girl the SRB is 132, and for third births with two previous girls it is 139, while sex ratios where the previous child was a boy are normal," the study explains. India has 34,012 registered ultra-sound clinics.
Earlier, studies have said 5-7 lakh girls a year or 2,000 girls go missing in India daily due to female foeticide. In families, where one girl child already exists, the chances of a second girl being born are as low as 54%. In a family with two female children, the chances of third girl being born is as low as 20%.