Dr. Devendra Kothari
Population and Development Analyst
Forum for Population Action
When Union women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi suggested registering the sex of every child in the womb to ensure the girl child is not killed, she probably did not understand the complex calculus that Indian would-be parents go through - when to have a child, how many, and boy or girl. A glimpse into this intriguing decision-making process undertaken by about 2.5 crore parents every year is provided by Census 2011 data.
Among women who had only one child, the sex ratio was just 782 girls to every 1,000 boys born. This is much lower than the overall sex ratio of the population, (943 females for every 1,000 males), and even lower than the sex ratio for children aged up to six years (919). But it is not yet the rock bottom. For women who have two children, the sex ratio plummets to 720 girls for every 1,000 boys. However, with women who have three children, it improves to 814.
To be concluded..