Pink color Economic Survey asks Indians to confront son preference

Vastavam web: The pink coloured Economic Survey document tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament today recommended that India must confront the societal metapreference for a son, observing that the adverse sex ratio of females to males has led to 63 million “missing” women.The colour of this year’s survey cover was chosen as a symbol of support for the growing movement to end violence against women, which spans continents.The Survey states that just as India has committed to moving up the ranks in Ease of Doing Business indicators, a similar commitment should be endeavoured on the gender front.

The percentage of working women has declined over time from 36 per cent being employed in 2005-06 to 24 per cent of women employed in 2015-16, pointed out the Survey.Given these observations, the states and all stakeholders have an important role to play in increasing opportunities available for women in education and employment, it said.As per the Survey, nearly 47 per cent of women do not use any contraception, and of those who do, less than a third use female-controlled reversible contraception.”This metapreference leads naturally to the notional category of ‘unwanted’ girls which is estimated at over 21 million,” says the Survey.

Consigning these odious categories to history soon should be society’s objective, opines the Survey. It also provides an assessment of India’s performance on gender outcomes relative to other economies.The percentage of women who did not experience physical or emotional violence also increased from 63 per cent to 71 per cent, whereas the median age at first childbirth also increased by 1.3 years over ten years.The Survey noted that the North-Eastern states have been consistently outperforming others on the development parameters related to women, while hinterland states are lagging behind.