Sex ratio dips to a new low in ‘vibrant’ Gujarat
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The girl child seems to be disappearing from the progressive and urban areas of Gujarat. The urban centres of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Kutch, Rajkot and Jamnagar districts — that account for 70% of the investments that flowed into Gujarat during the past one decade — have emerged as centres of female foeticide.
According to the Census 2011 figures, the sex ratio is the most skewed against females in the top urban centres of the state. Among all the 26 districts, the ratio is the lowest in Surat, the diamond and textile hub where there are only 788 females to every 1,000 males. In 2001, it was 810.
In Surat, the urban population has grown by 65% since 2001. Today, 48 lakh of its 60 lakh population lives in urban areas. But the sex ratio in urban Surat is just 757, way below the national average of 940 females per 1,000 males.
The situation is no better in Kutch, one of the rapidly industrialising districts of the state.
From 942 females per 1,000 males in 2001, the figure has come down to 907 in 2011 in this district, where urban population has grown by 52% in the last 10 years.
As a whole, Gujarat has seen its urban population grow by almost 35% between 2001-11, against the national average of 31% for the same period. However, urbanisation has not helped stem the falling sex ratio.
Apart from Kutch and Surat, the districts of Mehsana, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar have all seen a drop in sex ratio, especially in their urban areas.
For instance, Rajkot registered a 35% growth in its urban population while its rural population grew only by 19% between 2001-11. However, the district has just 908 females per 1,000 males in the urban areas, compared to 946 in its villages.