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Economic Survey 2018: Indians go on producing children till they have sons

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 21 mn, the Survey says

Veena Mani  |  New Delhi 

Economic Survey 2018

The reveals that Indian parents, still keen to have more and more male children, continue producing “until they have the desired number of sons”. The survey calls this phenomenon the son meta-preference, which involves parents adopting "fertility-stopping rules”, or having children until the desired number of sons are born.

The country’s sex ratio, skewed in favour of males, has led to the identification of “missing” women. But 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 adds. “Consigning these odious categories to history soon should be society's objective,” notes the Survey.


Among the startling facts revealed by the Survey is that the sex ratio of last birth (females per 100 births) has come down by 40 basis points from 39.4 per cent in 2005-06 to 39 per cent in 2015-16. The Survey suggests that women making their own income has seen no change in 10 years between 2005-06 and 20015-16. Only 13 per cent more women are getting educated – up from 59.4 per cent 10 years ago, to 72.5 per cent now.

Another startling observation in the Survey is that fewer women are now involved in decisions related to

Also noted is the fact that women’s employment has declined over time. “Another such area is in the use of female contraception: nearly 47 per cent of women do not use any contraception, and of those who do, less than a third use female-controlled reversible These outcomes can be disempowering, especially if they are the consequence of restrictions on reproductive agency”, noted the survey. 

from the (PFI), It is no surprise given that we are still focussing on Supply of care healthcare to provide is dismal. It is ridiculous that we have not used 40 per cent of the for remains unutilised.  Making available is very important and not yet available fully. 

First Published: Mon, January 29 2018. 16:28 IST
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