Gender

Inflated Girl Child Numbers Behind Haryana’s ‘Remarkable’ Improvement in Sex Ratio, Finds Audit

A Beti Bachao Beti Padhao audit has discovered the truth behind how Haryana achieved a massive improvement in its notoriously low sex ratio.

Representative image. Credit: TESS India/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Notorious for having the worst sex ratio in India, Haryana recently reported that it had made massive improvements, raising the number of girls in the state by leaps and bounds. In 2011, according to the nationwide census, India’s sex ratio stood at 919 girls for every 1000 boys. For Haryana, this number was 834, according to a Times of India report. Surprisingly, it reached 900 at the end of 2016, galloped its way to 935 in the first quarter of 2017, and by March 2017, this number had touched 950, according to several media reports, including NDTV. Celebratory news? Everyone thought so, until the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign became suspicious of these numbers and decided to do an audit, Times of India reported.

The investigating campaign team found that there had been widespread and systematic inflation to achieve these ‘remarkable’ numbers, Outlook reported. Times of India reports that out of ten states, eight are guilty of misreporting or, in some way, fudging the numbers. The probe, which began in April, found that Panipat, which in March seemed to have reached a sex ratio of 1007:1000, had overshot the reality by 135, bringing the actual number to 872. Narnaul, which reported the birth of 968 girls, was revealed as having only 841. Similarly, the district of Jhajjar (949) is now down to 845, Sonipat (948) came down to 870, Kaithal (939) is now 890 and Faridabad (926) was lowered to 872, according to the Times of India report.

The audit found that in some cases, these numbers were inflated, while in others, the staff were ordered to register the birth of girls on a priority basis and leave the boys for the next quarter, creating a manipulated outcome. “On priority, staff registered all girls born, which delayed the registration of boys. This reflected in the sex ratio and it appeared there has been a tremendous improvement. But it would have eventually been corrected because the boys too are being registered, although a little late,” an unnamed official told Times of India. Other inflations may be owing to clerical errors, as Hisar showed – its reported a ratio of 933 which has been corrected to 932.

R. C. Bidhan, deputy commissioner, Jhajjar, told Times of India, “We should focus on annual data and that has been improving for the district as well as the state. Two years ago, Jhajjar’s sex ratio was 760. It reached 884 last year.”

The state coordinator of the Beti Bachao campaign has claimed that they will ensure infallible recording by the end of the year and has also said that the annual data has indeed been showing marked improvements. Times of India quotes him on his prediction that Haryana would end the year at somewhere between 930-950. Other officials have also said that necessary action will be taken in case of discrepancy in numbers.