LONDON and NEW DELHI, October 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
Countdown has begun for the birth of 'Baby 7 Billion' in India, says global child rights organisation Plan International.
On October 31, when the world population is projected to surpass 7 billion, Plan will celebrate the birth of a girl as the 7 billionth child near Lucknow, capital of India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.
The organisation is using the occasion to draw world attention to India's growing gender gap and the 7 million girls 'missing' from its population.
Hundreds of thousands of female foetuses are being terminated in India every year even though sex-selective abortions and use of ultrasound technology for sex-determination are illegal.
According to India's 2011 Census, the ratio of girls to boys has dropped to an all time low. Today, the national figure has fallen to an alarming 914 girls for every 1,000 boys between 0 and 6 years. In some states like Punjab it is as low as 846 girls to 1,000 boys.
Nigel Chapman, Plan International CEO said: "Girls throughout the world are still being denied their rightful access to many things - but this is the most grave of all - the right to be born itself. Globally millions of girls are either never born because of a skewed preference for sons or die in early childhood or in reproductive years. We must bring a stop to this injustice."
Plan is advocating girls' rights and empowerment through its global campaign 'Because I am A Girl'. As part of its commitment, the organisation has launched the 'Let Girls Be Born' initiative in India to address the issue of female foeticide.
Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director of Plan India said: "We are the world's most rapidly growing nation, yet among the most challenging for girls. With 'Let Girls be Born' we hope to reach out to people to make them realise the consequences of the declining sex ratio, and encourage them to be active in celebrating girls."
Plan chose Uttar Pradesh to mark the birth of Baby 7 Billion as the state has not only the highest number of births but also the most 'missing girls'. With a population larger than Brazil, it has just 899 girls for every 1,000 boys. The situation is similar in other states such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and country's capital Delhi.
On October 31, Plan will celebrate the birth of 'Baby 7 Billion' at a public function near Lucknow. The newborn will be issued with a birth certificate by state authorities. The organisation has made birth registration an integral part of its girls' rights campaigns.
Nadya Kassam, Plan's Global Head of Advocacy said: "A birth certificate is recognition of a valued life and is a passport to citizenship and many rights. In places like India particularly, it gives data on the gender gap and serves as a vital indicator to track where girls are being lost."
SOURCE Plan International