This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by IndiaSpend. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Missing Girls Of Maharashtra & Gujarat

More from IndiaSpend

By Prachi Salve:

  • There is a shortfall of 73% and 55% in inspections of sonography centres in the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, two of India’s richest.
  • The child sex-ratio (number of girls under six years per 1,000 boys) in the states are among the lowest in India, especially in backward districts, such as Beed in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region (807) and Surat district (831) in Gujarat. The national average is 914.
  • Verdicts have been pronounced in 23 cases of 603 reported cases of child marriage in Maharashtra with 580 cases pending for 2013-14.
  • No one has been convicted in Gujarat under the prohibition of Child Marriage Act, although 659 cases are registered.
An expectant mother having an ultrasound examination in Anand, Gujarat. These diagnostic techniques are often used illegally to determine the sex of an unborn child.
An expectant mother having an ultrasound examination in Anand, Gujarat. These diagnostic techniques are often used illegally to determine the sex of an unborn child.

A wealth of laws and programmes instituted to protect girls are failing them in India’s two most economically-developed states, Maharashtra and Gujarat, according to recent reports by the central government auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

Both states are failing to implement the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC & PNT), which prohibits sex selection, before or after conception, and regulates diagnostic techniques to prevent misuse for sex determination used in female foeticide.

indiaspend1
Strong laws that work on paper, fail on ground

On paper, the Act provides for robust implementation state-wide through a supervisory board and an advisory committee including an officer of or above the rank of joint director of Health and Family Welfare as chairperson; representatives from women’s organisations and an officer of the law department.

The chief medical officer or civil surgeon is designated the appropriate authority at the district level.

These authorities can monitor the sonography centres that help abort the female fetus.

In Maharashtra, there was a shortfall of 55% in inspections (averaged across all districts) in 2013-14, up from a shortfall of 43% in 2011-12, the CAG found. The highest was in Amravati district at 54%.

In Gujarat, the shortfall was higher at 73% in 2013-14.

“The joint secretary, health and family welfare department, stated that the state government had assured to increase (sic) rate of conviction by meticulous paper work, evidence gathering and proper submission, and strong pleading of PC & PNDT cases,” the report said.

­­­­­­­Maharashtra registered 481 cases under the PC & PNDT Act as of March 2014.

While 181 offences were registered in Gujarat under the PC & PNDT Act as of March 2014, only 49 cases were prosecuted and only six offenders were convicted, the CAG report said. The punishments include imprisonment, cancellation of licences and fine.

In violation of Supreme Court directions to prosecute cases within six months, cases continued from one to 12 years.

The failure to implement the PC & PNDT Act is responsible for the falling child sex-ratio in these states, the report said.

indiaspend2

Child sex-ratio in Maharashtra is the lowest in Beed, Marathwada with 807 girls per 1,000 boys followed by Jalgoan in Khandesh (north Maharashtra).

In Gujarat, Surat has the lowest ratio of 831:1,000 followed by Gandhinagar.

The child sex-ratio in four districts (Chandrapur, Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara) in Maharashtra rose between 2001 and 2011 but it declined in 31 districts over the same period.

Sex ratio improves in India, not in Maharashtra, Gujarat

Maharashtra’s overall sex ratio declined from 920 to 919 over a decade (2001 to 2011) although the all-India ratio improved from 933 to 943, according to census 2011.

For Gujarat, the overall sex ratio declined from 920 to 919 from 2001 to 2011. However, there was some improvement in the child sex-ratio from 883 to 890 between 2001 and 2011.

Another important finding of the report is that the child sex-ratio is lower in urban areas than in rural areas in both states.

The report explains that this could be due to the availability of sonography centres in urban areas.

The availability of genetic clinics in urban areas and awareness of literate people about usage of sex determination techniques could also be attributed to declining child sex-ratio in urban areas,” the report said.

The child sex-ratio in urban India stood at 902 as against 919 in rural areas, the report said.

In Maharashtra, the child sex-ratio in urban regions stood at 899 and 890 in rural areas.

In Gujarat, the child sex-ratio in urban areas is 852 and 914 in rural areas.

indiaspend3
Children forced into marriage under-reported by both states

Child marriages, meaning girls/boys aged 10 to 19 years getting married, are common across Maharashtra and Gujarat, the report said. The audit found that both states were under-reporting child marriages.

There are almost 17 million children in India who were married between the ages of 10 and 19. Maharashtra ranks 5th with 1.5 million children married, while Gujarat is 7th with 0.9 million children married in the 10-19 age group.

Almost 73% of children married are girls in Maharashtra while it is 66% in Gujarat.

indiaspend4
The report highlighted the high pendency of cases pertaining to child marriages in Maharashtra.

In 2014, 101 new cases were registered and verdicts were pronounced in 23 cases.

There were delays in nominating Child Marriage Prohibition Officers in rural areas while no officers were nominated in urban areas, the report said.

Though The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act came into force from June 2012, the government was yet to frame guidelines to assist girls during pre-trial and trial, the report said.

In Gujarat, out of 659 complaints of child marriages during 2009-14, court cases were filed in only 15; no one was convicted during this period.

Maharashtra, Gujarat: Money is not the issue

Gujarat contributes more than 7.5% to India’s GDP while Maharashtra contributes about 14%.

In 2013-14, Maharashtra’s per capita income (at current prices) was 45.6% above the Indian norm (Rs 117,091 annually), while Gujarat‘s was 33% above (Rs 106,831 annually at current prices). India’s average annual per capita income (at current prices) was Rs 80,388.

While Maharashtra grew at 8.7% in 2014-15, Gujarat grew at 8.8% in 2014-15.

This article was originally published on IndiaSpend.

newsletter-banner-1

You must be to comment.

More from IndiaSpend

Similar Posts

By Survivors Against TB

By Suny Tomar

By Nutrition International

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below