Sex ratio appears to have moved in a positive direction in the country with a new National Family Health Survey (NFHS) showing that there are 1,020 women for 1,000 men even as urban India fared poorly compared to rural areas.
But if one takes the sex ratio at birth for children born in the last five years -- 929 girls for 1,000 boys -- there is not much to cheer about though it is an increase from the previous survey held in 2015-16.
The NFHS-5, released on Wednesday, is only an indicator of the trend as it deals with a sample of respondents and actual situation could be understood only after the national census. As per 2011 Census, so far the last, there are 940 women for 1,000 men in the country.
The good news is that it is for the first time that women's number have exceeded men in an NFHS survey since 1992 when it was first rolled out. In the NFHS-4, which was conducted in 2015-16, the sex ratio was 991, down from 1000 in the NFHS-3 held in 2005-06.
Urban India has a sex ratio of 985 in the latest edition of NFHS while that of rural India was 1,037 women for 1,000 men.
For Karnataka, the sex ratio was pegged at 1,034 women for 1,000 men. There was not much difference in urban (1,034) and rural Karnataka (1035), both higher than the national average.
Among the big states, Punjab (938), Gujarat (965), Maharashtra (966) and Madhya Pradesh (970) were among 12 states and union territories were women were fewer than men. Kerala has the highest sex ratio at 1,121 (up from 1,049 in NFHS-4) followed by Tamil Nadu (1,088) among bigger states.
However, this also has to be seen in the perspective of sex ratio at birth for children born in the last five years. There the figures are not enthusiastic, showing a preference for sons over daughters.
According to the NFHS-5, sex ratio at birth for children born in the last five years is 924 in urban and 931 in rural. The overall score (929) is an improvement from 919 in the NFHS-4.
Karnataka has shown a sharp rise from 910 to 978 in sex ratio at birth for children born in the last five years. This could have further increase provided rural Karnataka with a sex ratio of 931 fared better while urban Karnataka recorded 1,063.
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