By Subir Ghosh
With the birth of Nargis in a village 40 km from Lucknow this morning, the world’s population touched seven billion. Lucknow is the capital of India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh.
Nargis, weighing 3kg, was born at 7:20 this morning to Ajay (25) and Vineeta (23) at a local community health centre in Mall village, about 40 km from Lucknow, Davinder Kumar, Global Press Officer (Asia & Americas), Plan International, told this correspondent over phone.
The parents want to see her educated, and, if possible, to become a doctor. Nargis is the couple’s first child. The local authorities presented them with a birth cerificate in the morning.
Nargis and six other children will be sponsored by seven female personalities for the first seven years of their life, reckoned to be the most crucial in child development.
Plan International chose Uttar Pradesh to mark the birth of Baby 7 Billion as the state accounts not only for the highest number of births but also the highest number of ‘missing girls’. With a population bigger than that of 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 the country’s capital Delhi.
In India, Plan works in 10 states and has directly impacted lives of over a million children and their families. As a response to India’s worst child sex ratio since records began, Plan India has launched ‘Let Girls Be Born’ (LGBB) campaign and its main objective is to realise a gender balance in society by eliminating sex selective abortions (SSA) and ensuring the right to identity, name and citizenship for girls.
According to provisional Census totals, India’s population at 1210.2 million is almost equal to the combined populations of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan.
World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development says globally, “missing” girls at birth and excess female mortality after birth account for an estimated 3.9 million women each year in low-and middle-income countries. Almost one million of these deaths are in India.