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No country for 'missing women' | NFHS records more women than men in India

The country has come a long way since 1990 when Nobel laureate Amartya Sen coined the term 'missing women' as at that time there were 927 women per 1,000 men in the country

November 25, 2021 / 04:30 PM IST
The third state in India with highest literacy rate was recorded in Uttarakhand was 87.8 percent. (Image: Moneycontrol)

The third state in India with highest literacy rate was recorded in Uttarakhand was 87.8 percent. (Image: Moneycontrol)

After almost three decades since the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS) began, India for the first time has more women than men. According to the data released by the fifth round of the NFHS, there are 1,020 women for every 1,000 men.

The country has come a long way since 1990 when Nobel laureate Amartya Sen coined the term 'missing women' as at that time there were 927 women per 1,000 men in the country. From there we progressed to an equal sex ratio in 2005-2006 of 1000:1000 according to the NFHS-3 data. However, soon after there was a drop and the ratio was recorded at 991:1000 in the NHFS-4 data.

Finally, phase two of the NFHS-5 data has recorded a sex ratio that is skewed in the favour of women.

Also Read : India’s population has started to decrease, shows survey

Vikas Sheel, additional secretary, Union ministry of health and family welfare and mission director, National Health Mission remarked that improved sex ratio is a significant achievement and even though the real picture will emerge only after the census, it only goes to show that measures taken for women empowerment have been steered in the right direction.

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However, it is to be noted that the sex ratio at birth for children born in the last five years is still at 929, according to Hindustan Times.

Other key indicators on population, reproductive and child health, family welfare, nutrition and others for India as well as 14 states and UTs, clubbed under phase two, of the 2019-21 NFHS-5 was also released by the government on November 24.

The findings of phase one of the NFHS-5 for 22 states and UTs were released in December, 2020.

The states and UTs which were surveyed in phase two were Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, NCT of Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, a Health Ministry statement said.

Anaemia among children and women continues to be a cause of concern, with more than half of them being found anaemic in 14 states and UTs.

According to the findings, child nutrition indicators showed a slight improvement at an all-India level as stunting declined from 38 per cent to 36 per cent, wasting from 21 per cent to 19 per cent and underweight from 36 per cent to 32 percent.

Exclusive breastfeeding to children under six months of age has also shown an improvement in the all-India level from 55 percent in 2015-16 to 64 percent in 2019-21. There is an increase from 51 percent to 58 percent of women receiving the recommended four or more ANC visits by health providers at all-India level, the findings stated.

Also, all the phase two states and UTs have shown improvement, except Punjab, between 2015-16 to 2019-20.

Institutional births have increased substantially from 79 percent to 89 percent at an all-India level. Institutional delivery is 100 per cent in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu and more than 90 percent in seven states and UTs out of 12 phases two states and UTs.

(With inputs from PTI)
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