In the past 10 years, the sex ratio has significantly decreased in nine out of 11 states of India, whereas women’s literacy has gone up in each of those states, according to the first phase of the latest national family health survey, known as NFHS-4.
The 11 states surveyed in the first phase were also surveyed in the last NFHS of 2005-06. These are Goa, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Bihar, and West Bengal.
In these 11 states, on an average, there are 985 females per 1,000 males in 2015-16 compared to 1,000 females per 1,000 males in 2005-06. Women’s literacy has increased 12.15 per cent in these 11 states.
Moreover, institutional deliveries – children delivered in a medical institution under supervision – increased by 32.8 per cent in the past 10 years. Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar saw a huge rise of 54.6 per cent, 44.8 per cent and 43.9 per cent, respectively in institutional deliveries.
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which had 1,078 and 1,028 females per 1,000 males in 2005-06, now have only 1,033 and 979 females per 1,000 males, respectively. Women’s literacy increased 10 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, in these two states.
The only state where the sex ratio rose was Uttarakhand – from 996 to 1,015 females per 1,000 males. Meghalaya saw its sex ratio stabilise at 1,005 females per 1,000 males. All other states saw a disturbing fall in sex ratio.
As in the earlier rounds, the ministry of health and family welfare had designated the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai as the nodal agency to conduct NFHS-4.
Child marriages also saw a reduction in the same time period – 13.17 per cent for females and 6.7 per cent for males – in these 11 states.