1st Sep 2022 10:09:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

It is indeed worrisome that three districts of Arunachal Pradesh have recorded substantial decrease in sex ratio. The three districts-- Dibang Valley, Upper Siang and East Kameng have registered a  decline in the sex ratio in the National Family Health Survey - 5 (2019-21) as compared to the NFHS- 4 ( 2015-16). Dibang Valley in 2015-16 had a sex ratio of 1416 females born per thousand males. In 2019-21, it reported sharp decline at 1054. Upper Siang in 2015-16 had a sex ratio of 1038, which has now gone down to 983. East Kameng had a sex ratio of 1004 females born per thousand males which now stands at 995.

But despite the decline in sex ratio in the three districts, the overall sex ratio of Arunachal Pradesh is still above the 1000 mark. It is worth mentioning that a report by the Registrar General & Census Commissioner in November 2020 reported Arunachal Pradesh as having the best sex ratio in the country with 1084 females born per thousand males.

There are two possibilities for this decrease in numbers: one reason could be the selective termination of pregnancies in which case questions arise about the possible violation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, by clinics and health care practitioners. Or as most physicians in the state postulate, this could be due to error in data recording and reporting by the agency.

Nonetheless, the dip in sex ratio in the three districts is being viewed seriously by the Centre and in the last week of August the National Inspection and Monitoring Committee had visited the state capital Itanagar and inspected several hospitals and clinics. The Committee found anomalies with few ultrasonography (USG) machines in hospitals and clinics and subsequently sealed such machines. Registration and use of USG machines and also registration of doctors using USG and also locum doctors must be strictly complied along with diligent data maintenance in order to rule out misuse of diagnostic techniques.

While we can give the benefit of the doubt to our healthcare professionals when they say the reason for the dip in sex ratio could most likely be error in data recording, however, this development must be looked into seriously by the health authorities to check any misuse or violation of the PC&PNDT Act. No doubt, Arunachal Pradesh treats both genders equally on many accounts but it is a fact that being a patriarchal society, the desire for a male child is all encompassing.  This is where the grey area is and this is where attention must be paid.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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