He spoke today at a conference on "saving the girl child". Amelia Gentleman reports:
In his first speech on the subject, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh highlighted an "alarming" decline in the number of girls for every 1,000 boys in India, slipping to 927 in 2001 from 962 in 1981. "This indicates that growing economic prosperity and education levels have not led to a corresponding mitigation in this acute problem," Singh said.
"No nation, no society, no community can hold its head high and claim to be part of the civilized world if it condones the practice of discriminating against one half of humanity represented by women," the prime minister said.
Singh made the comments in the opening speech for a national conference dedicated to "saving the girl child" that brought together politicians, doctors and advocacy groups.
Describing female abortion as "inhuman, uncivilized and reprehensible," Singh said the government had a responsibility to crack down on the large numbers of Indian doctors who illegally revealed the sex of unborn children to parents and then arrange abortions to get rid of unwanted girls.