NFHS-5 Report: Population growth stabilizing but other worrying factors co-exist

Prejudice against girls persists, and the patriarchal attitude that pervades the Indian community has not been totally banished.

The NFHS-5 report has been released. A lot has been said about the improvement of sex ratio and for the first time women outnumber men by 1000/1020. However on scrutiny, the fact that the number of girls to boys at birth is still in favour of boys and has remained unchanged.

It is once again a reminder that prejudice against the girl child still continues and the patriarchal mentality of Indian population is still not completely eradicated.

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have disappointing figures

The population growth is slowly stabilizing and has reached a figure of 2. However, 2.1 is the figure which is necessary for maintaining the present level of population while Indian population growth is lower than this figure. Moreover, two states with the highest population, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, are at the bottom of this table. Bihar has a reproductive rate of 3 while for Uttar Pradesh it is 2.4.

The Multi Dynamic Poverty Index or MPDI is derived on 12 parameters and Bihar is last in 7 parameters among all the states. The figure is also an indicator that uncontrolled population growth has a direct bearing on the living standard of the population in that region.

The 7 parameters in which Bihar stands last include Poverty, Nutrition, Child and Mother Health, school attendance, electricity, energy. The above ranking is based on NFHS-4 figures and also has some positive developments like cleanliness, drinking water, electricity and banking where the state of Bihar has made good progress.

Rising trend of anaemia in women and children

The worrying factor which has been revealed by the NFHS-5 report is the rising trend of anaemia in women and children.

Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Jharkhand are the states where anaemia in the women has reached dangerous proportions. Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Pondicherry have shown better results.

Both Uttar Pradesh and Bihar has not been able to control the birth rate and this is the most worrying factor which could also have a bearing on the national figures.

The surge in the population has also caused a steep rise of density of population in these two states. For Bihar, the figure is 870 while for Uttar Pradesh, it is 1200 whereas the national average is 436. This is also one of the chief reasons for the debilitating poverty in the two states.

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