Delhi’s child sex ratio in the red zone

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 10, 2012 Published on October 10, 2012

The status of children in the country appears to be extremely volatile, to say the least. While enrolment in schools has gone up manifold in the last decade, the number of children completing even primary education has not seen much improvement.

Charge-sheeting in crimes against children has improved, but the number of juvenile criminals has also increased. Child labour and exploitation continues and sex ratio is spiralling towards alarming lows. Sex ratio gives the number of females against 1,000 males.

All these facts have been revealed in a report, Children in India 2012, by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation.

A disturbing statistic that the report throws up is the child sex ratio. Economic prosperity notwithstanding, sex selection and female foeticide have had a negative impact on child sex ratio in the country, which is speeding towards the danger-level of 900 and below.

Shockingly, at 866, Delhi is one of the States where the ratio is already below the 900-mark. Others in this category are Haryana, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

However, on a positive note, the study finds the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in primary school is at a high of 115 per cent. GER is the number of enrolled children of all ages against the total number of children in the official school age group. But the net enrolment ratio, or the number of enrolled children in the official age group against the total number of children in the official bracket, is still a worry.

“Upper primary net enrolment ratio at 58.3 per cent gives a clear indication of the ground to be covered,” the report noted.

Further, the ‘survival’ rate at the primary level up to Grade V, or the proportion of pupils starting Grade I who reach Grade V, continues to vacillate. While the number had gone up from 62 per cent in 1999 to 81 per cent in 2002, it dipped to 73 per cent in 2004, and 72 per cent in 2007-08.

However, in 2008-09 the figures improved marginally to 78 per cent. Though the silver lining is that the number of children getting their basic right to education appears to be increasing, but so is the number of children being exploited. Employment of child labour, which is recognised as a criminal offence in the country, has seen a steady rise. At 12.66 million in 2011, about 1.38 million child labourers added their might to the illegal workforce in a decade since 1991.

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Published on October 10, 2012
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