Indian parents have a "preference for a male child" and will continue bringing girls into the world until they generate the male. Although banned, tests for determining the sex of the unborn child are still widespread. Every year two million girls "disappear" through abortion, diseases and malnutrition.
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The desire of Indian parents to have male children has produced about 21 million "unwanted" girls. It is the result of the annual economic survey presented yesterday by the Union Ministry of Finance. Experts affirm the existence of what they call "preference for the male child", which leads couples to bring daughters to the world until they get the much desired male.
In India girls have always been considered a kind of curse for families. Tradition considers males to be the heirs of goods and those who keep families as the "breadwinners ". Female daughters, on the other hand, are seen as a financial burden for parents in a country where the institution of dowry at the time of marriage is very common.
The country has banned the practice of female selective abortions through tests for sex determination. However, the census numbers reveal that female feticide is still widespread. According to data from the latest 2011 demographic survey, there are 940 females to every 1000 males in India. In some states - like that of Punjab and Haryana - the proportion touches very high levels: 1000 females to 1200 males of the same age. What is interesting to note, analysts emphasize, is that abortion of girls is rooted even in the richest states and not only in rural areas, where parents have even more difficultly in guaranteeing their education.
The ministry's report shows that in all there are 63 million "missing" children, that is, never born, in India and that at least two million children go "missing" each year due to abortions, illnesses, lack of access to healthcare and malnutrition.
According to experts, such high numbers produced a demographic time bomb of excess males. In the long run, such practices - together with the "one-child law" in China, abolished in 2015 but struggling to be uprooted from the Chinese mentality - will have devastating effects on the number of crimes, trafficking in human beings and the ability of males to find a wife.