A sound social health is the cornerstone of sustainable social development leading towards well being of every citizen in any state or country. The sex ratio is an indicator which describes the number of women per 1000 men for a given population. The child sex ratio describes the ratio of girls to boys in the age group of 0-6 years. The sex ratio of a given population is also used as a strong indicator to ascertain social health. In the developed societies where female and male enjoy equal status, the women usually outnumber men. The adverse sex ratios (where female are lesser than male) not only indicate poor social health, but also a barrier in attaining sustainable social development.
In 2001, the child sex ratio of Karnataka was 946 and 948 as per the 2011 census. Although, the overall sex ratio of the state is good compared to the national average, the variations among districts clearly indicate prevalence of Sex Selective eliminations. The pre-dominantly patriarchal, social, cultural and religious set up based on the foundation that the family line runs through a male has contributed extensively to the secondary status of women in India. This has led to strong desire to avoid the birth of a female child in the family resulting in decline in the child sex ratio at an alarming rate.
Misuse of technology is a major reason for distorting child sex ratios. In order to regulate use and prohibit misuse of technology, the Pre-Conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) act enacted in 1994 and amended in 2003 is an important tool for addressing sex selective eliminations. The main purpose of the act is to prohibit and regulate the use of diagnostics techniques before and or after conception for sex determinations leading to sex selective elimination of foetus. The provision of the act encompasses creating institutional mechanisms and providing tools to monitor the use of diagnostic techniques for prohibiting sex selection. There is provision of punishment and penalty for those who violate provisions of PC & PNDT Act.
In order to oversee monitoring of PC & PNDT act implementation in the state an Institutional Mechanism was established. The State Supervisory Body, the State and District level Appropriate Authorities and Advisory Committees have been constituted. Over and above, task forces have been constituted at the State and District levels to intensify processes for effective implementation of the provisions of the act.