Sex ratio down, literacy rate of women up: NFHS 4

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As per the reports of recently released first phase of the latest national family health survey, known as NFHS-4, 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.

NFHS-4 was conducted under the ageis of  the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in association with Mumbai based International Institute for Population Sciences.The survey was conducted in the rural as well as the urban areas.

Facts of concern :

  • States and Union Territories surveyed : In the first phase of the survey 11 states and 2 UTs have been surveyed they are Goa, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Bihar, and West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands (UT), Puducherry (UT).
  • Sex ratio : 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.  Although Uttarakhand has 1,015 females per 1,000 males and Meghalaya has 1,005 females per 1,000 males which is high as compared to the other states in which disturbing fall in sex ratio has been observed.
  • Female literacy rate :  Women's literacy has improved significantly,  female literacy rate has increased 12.15 per cent in these 11 states which reflects better future prospective of the female population.
  • Institutional deliveries: Institutional deliveries ( children delivered in a medical institution under supervision) has  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.
  • Child marriages : Child marriages reduced by 13.17% for females and 6.7% for males in these 11 survey states which shows the growth in awareness level of the population.
  • Nutrition and Health : Overall Nutrition and Health status has improved people have more access to quality food and balanced diet as compared to earlier survey. The cases of Anemia have also declined , but it still remains widespread.
  • Access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation & cooking fuel : Families in India have became more aware about their health concerns and have became more inclined toward using safe drinking water, improved sanitation facilities although sanitation is still a challenge in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

The NFHS-4 is the fourth edition of national surveys after 2005-06 (NFHS-3), 1998-99 (NFHS-2) and 1992-93 (NFHS-1).  The information obtained by the survey will enable the GOI to provide national and international agencies to monitor and evaluate policies and programmes related to population, health, nutrition, and HIV/AIDS

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