This preference for sons over daughters - described as "son preference" - is rooted in the traditional belief that a male child would carry forward the family name and look after the parents in their old age, while daughters would leave them for their matrimonial homes and cost them dowries. Campaigners say this has resulted in a sex ratio that is heavily skewed in favour of men and has long been India's shame.
Over 100 years, the census has shown that there have been more men in India than women. According to the last census in 2011, there were 940 women for every 1,000 men and the child sex ratio [which counts children from birth to six years] was at 918 girls for 1,000 boys. This has led critics to name India "a country of missing women".