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New Delhi: The showpiece of a resurgent India, Delhi, is also steeped in a mediaeval mindset. The provisional Census data released on Thursday shows that the child sex ratio for the age group of 0 to 6 years has marginally declined from 868 girls per 1000 boys in 2001 to 866 girls per 1000 boys in 2011.
The data has shocked both chief minister Sheila Dikhist and minister for women and child welfare Kiran Walia. “I am concerned about the child sex ratio and will look into it,” said Dikshit. Walia too expressed concern on the dip.
“Laws do exist to crack down on those who seek sex determination of foetus. But what we need to focus on are the information, education and communication programmes to change people’s mindset about the girl child,” Walia said.
However, Indu Capoor, founder director, Centre for Health, Education Training and Nutrition Awareness (CHETNA), said that the implementation of the PNDT Act is not effective across states.
Sudha Tewari, president of Parivar Seva Sanstha, said, “We had expected that the overall child sex ratio for the country will stabilize this time. But the Census data tells a different story. Some states which were doing badly on this count in the last Census have improved but states which were stable earlier have failed to make further improvements or have slipped due to lack of adequate initiatives.”
Despite the dip in the child sex ratio, the gender ratio (overall female population per 1000 males) in the capital has increased remarkably in the past 10 years. The Census 2011 data on overall gender composition of Delhi shows that there are 866 females per 1000 males. In 2001 Census the ratio was 821:1000.
The increase is seen as a fallout of migration of families from other states. However, activist Dunu Roy from Hazards Centre dismisses the migration theory. He points that migration trends have slowed down in Delhi and most of this population increase in the last decade is a result of natural growth among families. “The increase in overall gender ratio reflects that the girl child oriented policies initiated after 2001 led to an improvement adding to the increased ratio. The dip in child sex ratio reflects that somewhere the momentum has been lost on delivering the schemes,” Roy added.
Delhi, which accounts for 1% of India’s total population, has also scored well in literacy. From 81.7% in 2001, the literacy rate in the capital has gone up to 86.3%. Gender disparity too has come down from 12% to 10% with the literacy rate of girls shooting up by an impressive 6%. The literacy rate for boys stands at 91% and 81% for girls. In 2001 it was 87% and 75% respectively.
Census 2011 pegs the capital’s population at 16.8 million, an increase of 21% from 2001 when it was 13.8 million. Among states, it has the highest population density of 11,297 people per sq. km. That Northeast district of Delhi is ranked as the densest district in the country at 37,346 people per sq. km drives home the point that the capital is bursting at its seams.