India’s Population Census of the year 2011 revealed that the population ratio in the country is 940 females per 1000 of males. Though the Sex Ratio 2011 did show an upward trend from the census 2001 data of just 933 females per 1000 males, the numbers are still far away from being equal. The governments over the years have tried their best to better the skewed up sex ratio but haven’t been able to achieve their goal yet. And hence, now they have decided to take the help of global tech giants in solving the problem faster.
One of the main reasons for the great gender gap in the country, is the society’s preference for male child over female child. According to the United Nations, India has one of the largest gender imbalances in the world with the men outnumbering the women by a whopping 43 million.
While the Indian law has banned abortions based on the sex of a child, and has even made it illegal for the doctors to make use an ultrasound to determine the sex of a foetus, the situation hasn’t changed much.
Understanding the importance that such an important issue holds for a developing country like India, the country’s Health Ministry had asked for commitment from some of the biggest global tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to restrict the promotion/advertisements of tests that encourage testing the gender of an unborn child. All the aforementioned giants have pledged their support to India’s Health Ministry on the matter and have committed to abstain from promoting tasteless sex determination tests.
According to a report by CNNMoney, tech giant Google has decided to disable certain terms from appearing as autocomplete predictions and display a warning message on relevant searches to inform users of the unlawful nature of this subject in the country.
While there is no assurance on how well are these digital measures going to turn out, it is good to know that the government is making some efforts at least. Last couple of years has seen Indian courts directing search companies to completely ban all the search results on sex selection on their platforms, not just the ads.
According to a number of researches, gender imbalance in a country can lead to an alarming increase in crime, sexual assaults and overall violence against women in the country. Hence, India is rigorously trying to uproot this social evil from its land as soon as possible.
Ironically, in year 2009 there were the controversy that spilled up due to the fact that Google India was showing the adverts of prenatal gender determination or preconception sex selection and thus violating laws of India under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act. And, in that year, the controversy also led to demand of Banning Google in India and arrest of the then chief of Google India. Read more about this 2009 news here