11 July 2011, World Population Day: Plan is calling on India to urgently tackle the problem of its vanishing girl population caused by hundreds of thousands of sex-selective abortions every year.
India, which is expected to be the birth place of the world’s 7 billionth baby later this year, now has 7,000,000 more boys than girls aged under 6 according to its 2011 census – and the gap is growing.
Today, the national figure has fallen to an alarming 914 girls for every 1,000 boys. In some states like Punjab that ratio is as low as 846 girls to 1,000 boys.
Despite the Indian government enacting the law against using ultrasound technology for sex-selective abortions, the practice continues and is believed to result in more than 500,000 female foetuses being terminated every year.
Nigel Chapman, Plan's chief executive officer, said: “The continuous decline in the relative number of India’s girls is extremely concerning and needs to be halted. It fails India’s girls and risks undermining its great economic and social achievements.”
Plan, which campaigns globally for gender equality and girls’ rights, has launched the 'Let Girls be Born' initiative in India to galvanise action to tackle the country’s disturbing sex ratio.
Bhagyashri Dengle, Plan India’s executive director, said: “We are the world’s most rapidly growing nation, yet among the most challenging for girls. Plan has been working in India for the last 3 decades and survival rights of girls have been a key focus of our community development work. With ‘Let Girls be Born’ we hope to reach out to people to make them realise the consequences of the declining sex ratio, and encourage them to be active in celebrating girls.”
Plan will mark 31 October - the day when the global population is projected to pass 7 billion - by celebrating the birth of a girl in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.
* Plan is not responsible for the content on external websites