Recent data released by World Bank projects decline in sex ratio in India from 943 reported in 2011 to 898 in 2031, and an overall reduction in youth population of the country. While throwing light on the reasons for such estimates, discuss the social, economical and political consequences of same on society.

Sex ratio is defined as the number of females per thousand males. As per Census 2011, Sex ratio of India is 943. In absolute terms, India has 48.53% female population compare to 51.47% male population. 
The poor status of women in the Indian society is a main reason for the declining sex ratio. The poor status of the women is attributed to the following factors.
Education –Education has a great influence on the sex ratio scenario of India. Child marriages are a common part of the Indian society. Girls are prone to the issue of child marriage at a very early age. These make them to stay away from the education and are compelled to take the responsibilities of the household. Due to illiteracy, people are unaware about the power and role of women in today’s era.
Poverty – Poverty is one of the factors which is responsible for the declining sex ratio. Due to poverty, a lot of girls do not have access to nutritious food. This deprives the women and girl child from a living a healthy life. And face high risks of infant and maternal mortality.
Social status of women – In India women are merely considered as an object. Menace of dowry has reduced the status of women. Due to these financial problems most of the families prefer male child over female.
Lack of empowerment of women – Women do not enjoy similar opportunities as men do. Due to lack of education, women are unable to establish their roles in many places. 
Sex selective abortionsThe methods of sex determination and female feticide are adopted which is main reason of declining number of females.
Infant and Maternal Mortality – Infant mortality rate is the number of death of babies before the age of one. Due to female feticide, the sex ratio declines terribly. Maternal mortality also contributes to the declining sex ratio as most of the women die during the childbirth due to improper care and less facilities. 
To address this trend of declining sex ratio following schemes have been initiated by the government
Consequences of declining sex ratio
Social

  • The declining sex ratio leads to surplus men which threatens demographic stability.
  • Skewed sex ratio leads to social evils like human trafficking, violence against women.
  • States like Punjab and Haryana which have highly adverse sex ratio is witnessing tendency of importing brides from other states. This is often resulting in exploitation.
  • Skewed sex ratio gives rise to a vicious cycle of adverse sex ratio leading to perpetuating cycle.

Economic

  • Skewed sex ratio is leading to the practice of bride purchase. This is leading to objectification of women.
  • Increased violence against women prevents their participation in the economic activities due to fear of violence.
  • Increased law and order issues impede the economic growth.
  • Skewed sex ratio induces greater competition among men hence striving to achieve greater excellence contributing to economic growth.

Political

  • Skewed sex ratio reduces the ability to women to influence policy making and act as a pressure group.
  • Declining sex ratio leads to less representation of women in policy making and lack of gender sensitivity.

Initiatives like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in Haryana have shown that concentrated efforts can aid in countering the declining sex ratio. Similar initiatives must be undertaken at high priority regions to counter the declining sex ratio.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Recent data released by World Bank projects decline in sex ratio in India from 943 reported in 2011 to 898 in 2031, and an overall reduction in youth population of the country. While throwing light on the reasons for such estimates, discuss the social, economical and political consequences of same on society. {250 words, 15 Marks}

Published: April 21, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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