Sex Ratio at Birth on Decline

The latest figures compiled by the government on registration of births and deaths have painted a dismal picture of sex ratio at birth as it has slipped below 900 for the first time in last three years.

According to ‘Annual Report on Vital Statistics of India based on Civil Registration System-2013’, the sex ratio at birth based on registered events is 898 in 2013, which is a drop from 908 in 2012 and 909 in 2011.

Highest birth sex ratio has been reported by Tripura (1,055) followed by Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh (978), Daman and Diu (961) and Sikkim (956). Lowest Sex Ratio has been reported by Manipur (700) followed by Haryana (840).

“The sex ratio at birth for the country ranges from 872 to 909 over the years 2004-2013. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Sikkim have the distinction of being the only major states reporting favourable sex ratio at birth in last so many years,” the report said.

Karnataka had sex ratio above 1,000 for consecutive years from 2007 but slipped below the four-digit mark in the past three years. While it had touched the highest of 1,047 in 2008, it slipped to 971 in 2012 and 943 in 2013.

The child sex ration (0-6 years), according to Census 2011, is 927. Poor registration of females in majority of the bigger states could be one reason for the dismal numbers.

According to the report, the registration of births and deaths have shown an increasing trend with latest figures showing that 2.24 crore births and 60.86 lakh deaths getting into official records in 2013, a rise from 2.21 crore and 58.50 lakh respectively in 2012.

The registration of births has increased from 84.5 per cent of the estimated births in 2012 to 85.5 per cent in 2013 while that of death rose from 69.3 per cent to 70.9 per cent. If one excludes two most populous and poor performing states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the level of registration of births comes out to be 96.8 per cent.

The improvement in the numbers could be gauged if one compares the figures in 1982 when 84 lakh births were registered compared to 2.24 crore in 2013. “The share of registered births to total estimated births is increasing year by year which shows the gradual improvement in birth registration,” the report said.

Thirteen among 20 major states, including Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal – have crossed 90 percent level of registration of births.

On deaths, the number of registered deaths has more than doubled in the year 2013 (60.86 lakh) to 1982 (25 lakh).

Karnataka had registered 10.68 lakh births in 2013, down from 11.24 lakh in the previous year while it recorded 4.13 lakh deaths in 2013 as against 4.07 lakh in 2012.

SEX RATIO AT BIRTH 2013

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

India

898

857

909

908

898

Tripura

Not Available

996

982

980

1055

Karnataka

1011

1025

983

971

943

Kerala

942

939

939

955

942

Uttar Pradesh

Not Available Not Available Not Available

930

883

Madhya Pradesh

938

922

897

912

904

Maharashtra

868

854

861

894

901

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Oct 20, 2015)

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