New Delhi –On Monday our Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Economic Survey 2018 which was Pink in Color representing the cause “Women Empowerment.” The survey has shown a worrying fact that there are 21 million “Unwanted” daughters in India due to the preference for sons!
The survey has shown that though India’s performance, when it comes to women’s agency, attitudes, and outcomes, has improved remarkably over the last 10 to 15 years, when it comes to issues of employment, use of reversible contraception and son preference, the development of the nation has failed to act as an antidote.
As per the Economic Survey, “There may be a meta-preference manifesting itself in fertility stopping rules contingent on the sex of the last child, which notionally creates ‘unwanted girls’, estimated at about 21 million.”
The survey states that a preference for a male child arises out of many factors, such as female employment, choice of contraception, education level, age at marriage, age at first birth and physical or sexual violence experienced by women in India.
“India must confront the societal preference, even meta-preference for a son, which appears inoculated to development,” states the Survey.
The Economic survey also acknowledges that government‘s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and Sukanya Samridhi Yojana schemes, and mandatory maternity leave rules are all steps in the right direction and just as India has committed to moving up the ranks in Ease of Doing Business indicators, a similar commitment should be attempted on the gender front. The challenge of gender biases is long-standing, probably going back millennia, so all stakeholders are collectively responsible for its resolution, adds the survey.