What is responsible for adverse sex ratios: Globalization, modernisation or social backwardness or flawed policies?
Indian Census-Mindset analysis Mrs Kukreja, Niladri blast Ranjana Kumari on Programme Aamne samne based on Discussions on latest issues and development on DD News channel on 03 April 2011 @ 10pm to 10.30pm
The Provisional Population Totals for Census 2011 was announced by the Census Commissioner, India
The data under debate is available at the following link
Mixed news from Census 2011
Sometimes, the good news is inextricably tied up with the bad. Provisional data from Census 2011 indicate that India's population might stabilise soon with the slowing down of the growth rate. From 21.54 per cent in Census 2001, the decadal population growth fell to 17.64 per cent in 2011. In absolute terms, 2001-2011 is the first decade (if 1911-1921 is excluded) to add a smaller number to the population than the preceding decade. The other good news is that literacy rate climbed from 64.83 per cent in 2001 to 74.04 per cent in 2011. While literacy among males rose from 75.26 per cent to 82.14 per cent, an increase of 6.9 points, it rose among females from 53.67 per cent to 65.46 per cent, an increase of 11.8 points. Of the additional literates, women (110,069,001) outnumber men (107,631,940). The gap of 21.59 percentage points between men and women in 2001 now stands reduced to 16.68 points. The full census data, to be released next year, should provide policymakers a comprehensive view of where India stands on key indicators of socio-economic development, set against the goal of creating a more egalitarian and just society.
It is no surprise that the overall sex ratio (number of females for every 1,000 males) has shown improvement, from 932.91 in 2001 to 940.27 in 2011; a good part of this can be explained by the greater natural longevity of women and improvements in health care over the years. Lurking in the provisional population data, however, is a deeply disturbing set of statistics: a steep fall in the child sex ratio, which measures the number of girls for every 1,000 boys in the 0-6 years age group. The sex ratio in the 0-6 age group has been continually declining since 1961 but the fall from 927.31 in 2001 to 914.23 in 2011 is the worst since Independence. This trend and scale of decline in rising India is shocking. It can only be explained by the deadly application of the ‘son preference' on a growing scale — through the instrumentality of sex-selective abortion, or female foeticide. Attempts to tackle female foeticide through bans on sex-determination tests imposed by the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act have been largely ineffective. In his essay ‘Many faces of gender inequality' ( Frontline, November 9, 2001), Amartya Sen drew on the 2001 Census data to highlight the fact that India split into two when it came to the sex ratio in the 0-6 age group: the South and the East had a decent ratio while the entire North and the West revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Even though the regional split concealed many micro-level variations, the contrast was striking. It would be interesting to see if the same regional pattern continues in the 2011 Census but the overall child sex ratio data, which throw sharp light on social mores, are depressing.
What the 2011 Census numbers tell us
Nitin Desai / April 2, 2011, 0:40 IST
The Census Commissioner has put out the provisional population totals as of March 1, 2011, for India and the states on March 31, 2011. There are now 1,210 million of us. The press release highlights some features of this, including the decline in the absolute number of children below six, the small improvement in the sex ratio in some states and the fact that the absolute decadal population growth is less than the previous decade. In this, the focus is on how the numbers stack up against expectations.
A comparison of the projections made by the registrar-general in May 2006 and the provisional results reported, shows that the population total is 17.7 million more than what was expected in 2006, a discrepancy of about 1.5 per cent or about a year’s population growth.
A big part of this difference is in Bihar, where the provisional population numbers are 6.1 million (i.e. 6.2 per cent) higher than what was projected. The tribal states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh also show a similar pattern, with a discrepancy relative to the projections, which is significantly above the national average. West Bengal’s and Assam’s population numbers are about two per cent above the 2006 projections. The North-Eastern states (other than Nagaland and Tripura) are off the projection by a large margin, ranging from 8.6 per cent to 13.1per cent.
In this rather predictable story of higher than expected population growth in Eastern and Central India, the Northern region shows a different picture. Uttar Pradesh actually shows a provisional population number which is 1.2 million below the projection. The numbers for Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi are about two million below projection and the discrepancy in Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh is below the national average.
In the Western region, the big difference is in Gujarat, where the provisional numbers are 1.4 million (i.e. 2.3 per cent) higher than the projections, while Maharashtra and Goa are actually below the projection. The big surprise is in the Southern region, where we thought the demographic transition was well under way. Tamil Nadu’s provisional population numbers are 4.7 million (i.e. 7 per cent) higher and Karnataka’s 1.7 million (i.e. 2.9 per cent) higher than the 2006 projection. However, Kerala shows a negative discrepancy of 1.2 million (i.e. 3.4 per cent) relative to the 2006 expectation and Andhra Pradesh is more or less spot on the projection.
We, of course, have to wait for the detailed results to see whether this is due to a slower than expected change in the vital rates or changes in migration patterns that were not anticipated in 2006. But a tentative conclusion from the numbers is that the demographic transition in the East is delayed by a few years and it will come more slowly in the South than what was anticipated. However, the story for the North and the West (with the exception of Gujarat) could well be different and more promising.