Sex ratio
Indian girls hold candles during a vigil in New Delhi. The vigil was held to protest the alleged maltreatment of the girl child across India. The protesters claim girls in India are subjected to inequality and neglected reflected in a negative sex ratio and lesser access to food, health and education. [Representational Image]Reuters File

The Supreme Court suggested on Tuesday that the state governments should announce incentives for families with a girl child and help improve the sex ratio, which dropped down to average 944 females per 1,000 males according to the 2011 census.

"We would require the states to give suggestions by way of a separate affidavit if some incentives can be given to the family which shows respect and honour for the girl child and give birth to girl child so that the sex ratio is improved," The Indian Express quoted a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit as saying.

The apex court said it wants the states to take an initiative to shun female foeticide by creating awareness among people and giving them the assurance that the state will help them raise the girl child.

"We recapitulate the saying: Awake, arise, Oh! Parth...and we say this to the states so that they can really wake up to take the issue of female foeticide with all the seriousness and sincere concerns," the bench said.

"People must know that the State will take care of girl child. People should be informed about the benefits individually," it added.

The suggestion from the SC bench came in the backdrop of a dropping sex ratio rate in several states including Haryana where the male-female ratio has gone down to 770 in Mohindergarh district. Rewari has 806 females per 1,000 males, Jhajjar has 811 and Bhiwani has 832, according to figures till June 2014, according to ABP Live.

While Delhi claimed a rise in the sex ratio, Uttar Pradesh claimed its overall sex ratio is 919 despite having figures between 800-850 females per 1,000 males in some districts such as Agra, Mathura, Firozabad and Aligarh.

Expressing doubts on the statistics provided by the state governments and the national capital territory, the apex court has ordered the additional secretary and two joint secretaries in the health and family welfare ministry to audit the records to verify the claims.

The SC wants the verification of the present records "to find out whether there is degradation of the sex ratio or a stagnation or any steps have really been taken by the concerned states to improve the sex ratio or not."

The central government's National Inspection and Monitoring Committee will hold a meeting on December 3 to verify the statistical records and SC will take up the matter on December 4.