Census 2011 – Sex Ratio Plummeted and Literacy Rate Ascended

A population Census is the process of collecting, compiling, analyzing and disseminating demographic, social, cultural and economic data relating to all persons in the country, at a particular time at a ten years interval. Conducting population census in a country like India, with great diversity of physical features, is undisputedly the biggest administrative exercise of peace time. The wealth of information collected through census on houses, amenities available to the households, socio economic and cultural characteristics of the population makes Indian Census the richest and the only source for planners, research scholars, administrators and other data users. The planning and execution of Indian Census is challenging and fascinating. And the results are equally engrossing. The census of India 2011 has concluded that India’s population rose to 1.21 billion people over the last 10 years — an increase by 181 million which is bigger than the combined population of 5 countries (USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Bangladesh). As for the population of states, Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state (20 crores) and the combined population of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra (i.e. 31 crores) is more
than that of the USA.

Mr. Devender Kumar Sikri, Ex-Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India pointed out ‘Census data demonstrates where the nation is positioned at a particular point of time in respect of various social and economic characteristics”.

The two most awaited conclusions from the census report – CSR (child sex ratio) and literacy rate have been discussed briefly below:

Child Sex Ratio

This year census 2011 had the symbol in which a women enumerator was shown which reflected women empowerment but the irony is that the reports of the census shows the declining ratio of women in society . Thus the census symbol doesn’t reflect the truth but the reports. And the truth is that women are still discarded in this orthodox and ignorant society.
The child sex ratio in the country (0-6 years) has declined to touch the lowest levels since Independence, provisional results of Census 2011 have revealed it. Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner C. Chandramauli said here that child sex ratio (0-6 years) in 2001 was 927 females per 1000 males born, which declined to 914 females per 1000 males. ”The child sex ratio at India level (914) is lowest since Independence,” he said. Although overall sex ratio has shown an improvement since 1991, the decline in child sex ratio (0-6) has been unabated since 1961 census. Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have recorded an increasing trend in the child sex ratio (0-6 years). In all the remaining 27 states and union territories, the child sex ratio shows decline over 2001 census. Mizoram (971) and Meghalaya (970) are top two states in 0-6 years sex ratio while Haryana (830) and Punjab (846), despite improvement, are the bottom two states.

Indians not only in rural areas but also in urban areas consider girl child as a synonym of apathy because as per them they carry the burden of dowry and think that girls are inefficient in leading their inheritance. Sex selective abortions back their mindsets which results in lowering the dominance of women in society. Earlier we considered that literacy will help decreasing female feticide but census reports  have proved this wrong. As per this year census reports the literacy rate has increased in contrast to CSR. The main reason behind is the upper class of urban areas who don’t think of having another child if their first child is a boy but same trend is not followed if they have girl as the first child. Thus need of the hour is that women as well as men should understand a woman’s worth in empowering a family, society and country. They fact should be accepted that they are equivalent to boys and in some fields even better.

Literacy rate

There are some good tidings on the literacy front, as per the reports literates now constitute 74 per cent of the total population aged seven years and above and the data shows 26 per cent of the population is still unlettered. The literacy rate went up from 64.83 per cent in 2001 to 74.04 per cent in 2011 — showing an increase of 9.21 percentage points.
Another astonishing fact that has been found is that the female literacy level saw a significant jump as compared to males. The female literacy in 2001 was 53.67 per cent and it has gone up to 65.46 per cent in 2011. The male literacy, in comparison, rose from 75.26 to 82.14 per cent. This good news can be a solution to the problem of declining CSR only if women use their knowledge to empower them and not to find a suitable groom.

Kerala, with 93.91 per cent, continues to occupy the top position among States as far as literacy is concerned, while Mizoram’s district (98.76 per cent) and Aizawl (98.50 per cent) recorded the highest literacy rates among districts. Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district has the lowest literacy rate of 37.22 per cent .The Naxalite-affected Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, has the literacy rate of 41.58 per cent.

Lakshadweep followed Kerala with a literacy level of 92.28 per cent, while Bihar remained at the bottom of the ladder at 63.82 per cent, followed by Arunachal Pradesh at 66.95 per cent. Ten States and Union Territories, including Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Tripura, Goa, Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Chandigarh, NCT of Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands achieved a literacy rate of above 85 per cent, which met the Planning Commission’s target set to be achieved by 2011-12.

The gap of 21.59 percentage points recorded between male and female literacy rates in 2001 census has reduced to 16.68 percentage points in 2011. The Planning Commission is targeting a reduction of this gap to 10 percentage points by 2011-12. A significant milestone reached in the 2011 census is the fall in the number of illiterate persons by 31,196,847. Of the total decrease in the number of illiterates, women comprise 17,122,197 and men were 14,074,650. It was also encouraging to note that out of a total of 217,700,941 literates added during the decade, females outnumbered males by 110,069,001 to 107,631,940. Now the Government should pull up their socks to get ready to increase employment or before the next census the population of educated unemployed will be on rise.

Naina Gupta