A Country Without Balance — What the Trend of Declining Child Sex Ratio Could Mean for India in 2031

In this issue, we explore what India could look like in 2031 if we fail to protect the lives of unborn girls.  

A widespread preference for sons, combined with easy access to illegal sex-selective abortions, has led to a significant imbalance in the ratio of boys to girls born in India. According to the latest government census, the Child Sex Ratio, which shows the number of girls per 1000 boys between the ages 0-6, plunged down to 918 for India in 2011 from 927 in 2001. 

Diminishing Sex Ratio

The Sex Ratio will further dip to 898 girls for 1,000 boys in 2031, according to a Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation report

Recently, during the Coronavirus lockdown period, the government inexplicably suspended some key provisions of the PCPNDT (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules, 1996. This decision put the lives of thousands of unborn girls at risk. India cannot afford such lapses. 

“The decreasing Child Sex Ratio has a cascading effect on population over a period of time leading to diminishing Sex Ratio in the country,” explains the Census of India website, “one thing is clear—the imbalance that has set in at the early age group is difficult to be removed and will remain to haunt the population for a long time to come.” 

The declining Child Sex Ratio sabotages the development of our country as women contribute strongly to the economic upliftment of India. Imagine large proportions of the productive population missing ten years from now because girls were not even allowed to be born! 

Scarcity of Brides 

The growing disparity between the number of boys and girls born will have serious social implications. It will become more difficult for men, wanting to get married, to find a bride by 2031. In the coming decades, the number of men who can’t find brides in India could reach 40 million

In the book ‘Too Many Men, Too Few Women’, Ravinder Kaur speaks about this ‘marriage squeeze’. Through empirical work and ethnographic accounts by well-known sociologists, economists and demographers, this book maintains that due to the economic, social, moral and psychological importance of marriage in Indian societies, the "shortage of brides" has become one of the most significant negative impacts of the sex ratio imbalance.

Increase in Violence

Gender imbalance will have dangerous repercussions to the security and stability of our society. Studies repeatedly link regions with high sex-ratios in favor of men to instances of increase in violence, sexual exploitation of women, enforced prostitution and other forms of gender-based violence. The impending “marriage squeeze” will amplify evils like bride trafficking and polyandry.

Failure in Achieving Gender Equality

A country without balance is a country without equality. Gender equality is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the United Nations aims to achieve by 2030. 

“Son preference is first and foremost about gender discrimination and violations of women’s and girls' human rights,” says Luis Mora, a UNFPA human rights expert. Failure to bring balance in our Child Sex Ratio would mean failure in achieving Gender Equality for our girls. 

Ms. Ravinder Kaur, a noted professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at IIT-Delhi, has said that the consequences of skewed sex ratios are likely to be felt even more than twenty years down the line. 

Improving the status of women and girls and preventing the systematic erasure of our daughters should be a national priority.

Join the Fight to let her live!

Webinar On Increasing Violence Against Women And Children During Lockdown

To address the 'Increasing Violence against Women and Children during Lockdown', ADF India's Vanishing Girls Campaign is presenting a Legal Response webinar featuring Ms. Aparna Bhat, Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
4:00 - 5:00 pm
Followed by half an hour of Q&A

Signature Campaign To Demand The Immediate Reinstatement Of PCPNDT Rules

In response to the the sudden and inexplicable suspension of Rule 8, Rule 9(8) and Rule 18A (6) of the PCPNDT (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules, 1996 on April 4, 2020, ADF India's Vanishing Girls Campaign launched an oline petition seeking the reinstatement of the suspended rules. Close to 1200 petitioners signed the campaign to save vanishing girls. ADF India submitted the petition on May 7, 2020 to the Hon'ble Union Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. We are currently awaiting an appointment with the Minister to share our concerns in greater detail.

Daughter’s Day Special


So, it was Daughters Day on 22 September and honestly, I did not expect my father to even remember it, let alone post something on Instagram (yes, my father is on Instagram and sometimes it is embarrassing but most times it is cute to see him learn things about what he calls “modern day technology”). 

I opened my Instagram this morning to find that my father had posted a picture of him, with my sister and I, and a caption that read “Daughters Day. Blessings of God.” 

My eyes welled up a bit. 

My father has always been very proud of his two daughters, and I have often heard him tell people that he is glad God gave him girls. His heart swells with happiness every time he does. But this was something I was not expecting, and I will tell you why. Since my father is just learning about Instagram and usually takes help from my sister or me when posting or adding stories, he took the effort to do this one on his own! And that adds so much more to the weight of how special I feel right now. 

It is the best feeling to know that your parents put effort to show you that you are loved and cherished, especially when you are a girl in India. Many times, we get so caught up with our busy lives that we forget to pause, to look around, to ponder, to be thankful, to cherish our children, OUR DAUGHTERS. We see them as a burden and not a blessing and that’s the most hurtful thing a daughter could ever go through – feeling unloved and unwanted because of no fault of her own. 

There is a need to spread awareness on the reality of sex-selective abortions in India. Killing the girl child in the womb has become so common that people treat it as something normal. 


I am blessed to have parents who have always sacrificially given their daughters everything they needed to get to where they are right now. My sister and I enjoy wonderful lives in India’s best cities with great jobs. We are so grateful that we have parents who nurtured us with love, respect, freedom and courage. They never wished they had boy children instead of us. 

But not all girls feel the same way. They do not get the opportunity. It is important that girl children feel loved and cared for; that they are treated well and grow up to be confident and brave, pursuing their dreams. 

Make daughters feel special. Not just on Daughter’s Day, but every day. 

Because they deserve it. Right?


For this year's International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October, the Vanishing Girls Campaign commemorated the occasion by launching a nationwide online photography competition. The Vanishing Girls Campaign invited all photographers (amateur and  professional) to participate in this contest to bring awareness to the cause of the Girl Child.

The theme of the Contest was: #giveherLIFE (Love, Inheritance, Freedom, Equality). The jury consisted of five reputed professional photographers: Karan Khanna, Altaf Qadri, William Chang, Riddhi Parekh and Paromita Chatterjee.

The Contest received over 500+ entries from across the country. The winning images appropriately reflects the consideration the photographers have put in for their respective entries. We appreciate the generous support of all those who participated in the contest to contribute to the cause through their photographs. There were eight winners selected. The first, second and third winners received a cash prize of ₹15,000/-, ₹10,000 and ₹5,000/- respectively. Five consolation prize winners were awarded a cash prize of ₹1,000 each. Find the winning entries below:

Grand Winner 📸 UDAYAN SANKAR PAL, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
"This image is a story. Almost an essay in one photo, Youth and old age showed in one frame in such a beautiful way. A great positive message. Love the composition, the colors, the subjects, the play of age and playfulness with the animals in hand."
Contest Judge @riddhi_parekh on the photo
Second Place Winner 📸 RATHIN DEY, Santipur, West Bengal
"An ember sparked will softly glow, and fed by fuel, will grow and grow.
I once was cinder, sparked by courage.
First timid, till the flames grew and grew."
Third Place Winner 📸 MOHAMMAD ANAS, Delhi
With 7000 girls aborted every day in the country because of sex-selection, India ranks 4th in the world with the worst child sex ratio. This genocide of girls remain hushed, silenced and ignored despite these alarming data proving how to this day girls are unwanted in the country. Where is the outrage? Where is the uproar?
Consolation Prize Winner 📸 PURANJIT GANGOPADHAY, Kolkata, West Bengal
Life Cycle : A heartwarming photo of a mother passing down a livelihood skill to her daughter in rural West Bengal
Consolation Prize Winner 📸 AMITAVA CHANDRA, Kolkata, West Bengal
This sunny photo captures the smiles that follow in the family when both the son and daughter are loved equally and given equal opportunities.
Consolation Prize Winner 📸 ANAND SUBRAMANIAN, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Let them live, Let them thrive: Girls are the future of our country. This meaningful photo captures this lovely school girl in a backdrop forming the colors of our national flag.
Online Photography Contest | Consolation Prize Winner 📸 SAGARIKA SUNDI, Jharkhand
This photo comes alive with the apparent delight of the little girl with a book in her hand. Education is an important tool that enables women and girls to participate in decisions that affect their lives and in improving their social status. The fact that people would rather spend on their daughter’s marriage expenses or dowry instead of education is disheartening. Make education accessible and a priority for all girls in our nation.
Consolation Prize Winner 📸 NEHA, Gurugram, Haryana
"Almost aborted
Loved less
Married early
Considered a liability
21st century but still in the dumps!"... .
This emotional photo freezes pain to hoist a thought-provoking reality


PANEL OF JUDGES: #GIVEHERLIFE - The Vanishing Girls Campaign is commemorating the occasion by launching a nationwide online photography competition. The Vanishing Girls Campaign invites all photographers (amateur and  professional) to participate in this contest and bring awareness to the cause of the Girl Child

Karan Khanna


Altaf Qadri


Riddhi Parekh


William Chang


Paromita Chatterjee