'Better literacy rate the best news in the census'
There's a lot of positive news in the population census findings, C Chakravarty, consultant registrar general, tells Business Standard. Excerpts:
What do you think is the most striking finding of Census 2011?
The slowing of the growth of population is the most striking thing in the last 10 years. It was growing at 21.64 per cent and this rate has declined. And, this decline is happening in seven major states which have been showing no such trends before, including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
What about the decline registered in the previous decade?
That decline was confined to some states in the south, which were ahead in other development indicators. Now, even those with poor indicators have shown decline.
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Sex ratio has been declining since 1961
What about the sex ratio decline?
That is the other important thing the census has unveiled. It has been declining since 1961 and we don't know when it would be reversed.
The reasons are mainly preference for one child and the other obvious one of female foeticide.
As our Commissioner said, we have provided the data and it is for demographers now to study it and explain the reasons. This stands for all the findings.
'Things are going in the right direction'
Why is the sex ratio declining even in eastern states and even a state like Kerala?
There may be many reasons again for the data. In a state where the sex ratio declines, it could also mean migration of lots of workers from outside. This can skew numbers against the girl child in some states like Kerala. In Delhi, again, there is large scale migration.
Why has higher female literacy not helped save girl children?
The improvement in literacy rate, especially the female literacy rate, is the best news in the census report. It means that things are going in the right direction. It is wrong to link female literacy with the female sex ratio. Not all literate persons would use her awareness to get rid of girl children. It is a diverse country and issues are more complex.