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May 25, 2011 at 07:02pm IST

Gender gap in India getting worse

New Delhi: A new study published in medical journal Lancet has some alarming findings; selective abortion has led to 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to the age of 6.

It is a gender gap that has widened by more than a million in a decade. The study also finds that in the last 30 years, an estimated 4 to 12 million girls were aborted because of their sex.

The study claims that rich, educated Indian parents may be the worst offenders, choosing to abort a second daughter.

The researchers examined over 2.5 lakh births from national surveys and found that the difference in the girl-boy ratio fell from 906 girls per 1,000 boys in 1990 to 836 girls in 2005.

Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad called the report alarming

"It's most unfortunate, new report is alarming. There is an act Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse). We have called a meeting on June 4 of all the committees from the state and centre to discuss what action they have taken and how it can be improved more," said Azad.

The sex-selective abortion means India is left with 32 million more boys than girls which is an imbalance that will endure for decades. These findings will be published in medical journal Lancet's next issue.

Worse still, selective abortion accounts for 2-4 per cent of female pregnancies and the practice has increased by a massive 170 per cent in the last decade itself.