"In our culture, mothers have the highest place. But a lot of bad things have crept into our society. In the 18th century female foeticide had started," he said, addressing the annual general meeting of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO).
Modi said that after independence it seemed that the country would move towards a modern India. It seemed "we will show the world what is a woman's place. But it seems that as we progressed, our society has degenerated".
"Sometimes I feel our situation has become worse than that in the 18th century. In the 21st century, girls are being killed in the womb. Both men and women are equally responsible for that," he said adding that this problem also existed in Gujarat.