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Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Why in news?

UNFPA’s State of the World Population 2020 report says: One in three girls missing globally due to sex selection, both pre- and post-natal, is from India.


  • The report cites a 2014 study to state that India has the highest rate of excess female deaths one in nine deaths of females below the age of 5 due to postnatal sex selection (Almost 12%).
  • To compare: In Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan excess female mortality of girls below 5 years of age was under 3 per cent.
  • According to estimates averaged over a five-year period (2013-17), annually, there were 1.2 million missing female births, at a global level. India had about 4,60,000 girls ‘missing’ at birth each year.

Issue with Selection of Sex

  • However, the advent of technology and increased access to ultrasound imaging ensured that parents didn’t have to wait for the birth of their girl child to kill her but could terminate a foetus upon knowing its gender.
  • This resulted in the number of girls missing due to female foeticide exceeding those that were missing because of postnatal sex selection.
  • These skewed numbers translate into long-term shifts in the proportions of women and men in the population of some countries, the report points out. In many countries this results in a “marriage squeeze” as prospective grooms far outnumber prospective brides, which further results in human trafficking for marriage as well as child marriages.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (UNFPA because it was formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities) – is a UN organization working for improvement of reproductive health; including creation of national strategies and protocols, and birth control by providing supplies and services.
  • The organization has recently been known for its worldwide campaign against child marriage, obstetric fistula and female genital mutilation.
  • UNFPA is the world’s largest multilateral source of funding for population and reproductive health programs.

Click Here to read more about India’s Handling of Female Infanticide

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023