Govt ‘challenges’ Census figures
Orders Fresh Survey Of Births During Past 5 Years
Srinagar, May 3: In the wake of disturbing disclosures in Census-2011 about alarmingly declining sex ratio in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has now ordered “actual survey” of births during the past five years to check, what it terms, “inexplicable figures” reported in the decadal exercise.
Though the authorities in the Health Department maintain that the proposed “survey of actual births” was in no way aimed at contradicting the Census-2011 figures, their assertion that the steep fall in female ratio reported from many districts in the census was “incomprehensible”, makes it vividly clear that the worrying figures on sex-ratio have not gone well with the authorities concerned.
A government issued on April 16, 2011 directs the Block Medical Officers at district levels to engage ANMs/MPHW (male)/CHOs/EE/HE and other health functionaries in the areas of their respective blocks to carry out the “actual survey” of male/female births during the past five years.
“BMOs are directed to approach the Lumberdars/Chowkidars of respective villages separately to ascertain the actual figures of male/female births,” the order states.
Sources said the order followed a review meeting taken by the state’s Health Minister here on March 15 wherein the Census-2011 report, which had presented the dismal picture about the general sex ratio and child sex ratio (0-6 years of age), was discussed threadbare and it was decided to thereupon to conduct the “actual survey.”
Confirming that his department has ordered the survey, Minister for Health, Sham Lal Sharma, told Greater Kashmir the figures about child sex ratio reported in the Census were “shocking.”
“No doubt that census is the most credible exercise. (But) we have some doubts and we want to clear the same. I had apprehension that the figures would be on lower side in some Hindu dominated districts but it has come as a shock to me that the situation is no good in the Valley,” he said.
“The census has shown remarkable decline in sex ratio in all the districts especially in Leh. We will be cross-checking the figures in Leh and Kargil and the same exercise would be carried out in other districts. The health department has decided to go for the survey and then compare the data with the Census figures,” said JK’s Director NHRM, Dr Yashpal Sharma.
He said the mountainous region of Leh which had shown the steep fall in the female population would be taken as a special case for the survey. “Also because it has lesser population we will see if the figures differ,” he said.
In Census-2001, Leh had recorded the sex ratio of 823 females to 1000 males however the figures have fallen to an alarming 583 during the 2011 census followed by Kargil with a ratio of 775, down by 62 points.
Asked wasn’t the survey aimed at negating the Census figures, Dr Sharma said: “The difference in one decade is too much which is unexplainable. And more so in case of Leh where there is women empowerment,” Dr Sharma said. However he maintained that census is more transparent and in depth exercise wherein every minute detail is recorded.
JK has witnessed the largest decline in sex ratio for the past one decade, pegged at 883 females per 1000 males, indicating a fall of 9 points compared to 2001 Census. The figures are only one point better to the statistics for 1901 census. No other state is even remotely close to state’s dismal record. The ratio is 940 at all India level. The provisional Census-2011 data had shown that the child sex ratio (0 to 6 years of age) has fallen from 941 in 2001 to 859 in 2011.
Experts argue that sex determination, self medication, mushroom growth of unregistered clinics and nursing homes could be among the reasons for the fall in the population of the girl child. The statistics have put a question mark over the implementation of Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (PC &PNDT) Act by the government to prevent female foeticide.
Speaking about the order, Director, Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman said it is in the context of census report. “We can’t deny that the sex ratio has fallen. The Department wants to know what is happening in the health sector. They want to compare the figures,” he said.
The state has already come under radar for its “poor performance” to check the worrying phenomenon. Last month JK was one of the 17 states summoned by the union health ministry to know the reasons for the decline in sex ratio, reports said. It was followed by visit of a parliamentary delegation last week to find out the reasons for fall in the female population.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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