Women who constitute half a human population have been discriminated, harassed and exploited irrespective of the country to which they belong, unmindful of the religion which they profess and oblivious of the timeframe in which they live. Everywhere women are confronted with many challenges. Female foeticide is perhaps one of the worst forms of violence against women where a woman is denied her most basic and fundamental right i.e. "the right to life". With the advancement of medical technology sophisticated techniques can now be used or rather misused, to get rid of her before birth. Through ultrasound scans and amniocentesis, the sex of the foetus can be determined during the pregnancy of the woman and then the foetus is aborted if found to be female.
The sex ratio is an indicator of the social health of any society. It is increasingly evident and disheartening to note that economic progress has not necessarily changed the traditions of gender discrimination and the child sex ratio is highly adverse in urban and affluent areas, as observed in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and the coastal districts of Odisha for some example. Declining Child Sex Ratio is a multi-faceted problem associated with the rights and dignity of women and girl child. Social equality cannot be ensured until and unless there is a change in the mindset of everybody in favour of equal treatment to the female child at par with the male child. The declining child sex ratio has become a constant concern. Despite the natural equity accorded to the sex of a new born, the social behaviour has always been twisted in favour of males.
The social dimensions joined with the modern technology for prenatal sex determination has prompted for selective abortion of girl foetus. As a consequence, the child sex ratio in Odisha stands at 934 females for every 1000 males (Provisional data of 2011 Census). Data from Census of 1961 to 2011 shows a radical decline of child sex ratio in the state. Female foeticide is one of the major reasons behind lesser number of girls in the age group of 0-6 years. In order to check this evil practice, the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act, 1994 was enacted and amended in 2003 as the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act. The act prohibits sex selection before or after conception and regulates the use of preconception and pre-natal diagnostic techniques so that these are not misused for sex selection.
Now the time has come when all civil society and public authority intervene in strict action on the issue of Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques. Initiative must be carried out from all section of society to reduce the gap of sex ratio in Odisha which would lead to social development in a positive angle. Niyatee Foundation starts intervening on the issues in its operational area with support of community based organizations and likeminded individuals.