As the countdown begins for the birth of “Baby 7 Billion”, global child rights organisation Plan International will mark the day by highlighting India's growing gender gap, and the seven million girls 'missing' from its population, it said.

On October 31, when the world population is projected to surpass seven billion, Plan International will celebrate the birth of a girl child near Lucknow, the capital of India's most populous State of Uttar Pradesh, the organisation said.

The newborn will be issued a birth certificate by State authorities, at a function. The organisation has made birth registration an integral part of its girls' rights campaigns, it added.

The births of several girl children are being terminated in India every year, even though sex-selective abortions and use of ultrasound technology for sex-determination are illegal, a note from the organisation said.

India's 2011 Census says that the ratio of girls to boys has dropped to an all time low.

The national figure has fallen to 914 girls for every 1,000 boys between 0 and 6 years. In some States like Punjab, it is as low as 846 girls to 1,000 boys, Plan International said.

“Girls throughout the world are still being denied their rightful access to many things – but this is the most grave of all – the right to be born itself. Globally millions of girls are either never born because of a skewed preference for sons or die in early childhood or in reproductive years. We must bring a stop to this injustice,” said Mr Nigel Chapman, Chief Executive of Plan International.

On its part, Plan International is advocating girls' rights and empowerment through its global campaign ‘Because I am A Girl'.

As part of its commitment, the organisation has launched the ‘Let Girls Be Born' initiative in India to address the issue of female foeticide, a note from the organisation said.

Plan International chose Uttar Pradesh to mark the birth of ‘Baby 7 Billion' as the State has not only the highest number of births but also the most ‘missing girls', the note said.

With a population larger than Brazil, it has just 899 girls for every 1,000 boys. The situation is similar in other States such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the Capital New Delhi, it added.

jyothi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 28, 2011)
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