ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Demography and Development: Preliminary Interpretations of the 2011 Census

The pace at which India's population is growing is slowing, but not as rapidly as expected; India will become the largest country in the world sooner than earlier forecast. Literacy rates have increased sharply between 2001 and 2011; some of the low performing rates have shown strong improvements, the others have not. The dismal picture in the 2011 Census is that even as the overall sex ratio has improved due to better adult female mortality, that of the child sex ratio has further deteriorated. High mortality among girl children and sex selective abortions have pushed the child sex ratio down in all but three states.

Social Infrastructure and Women's Undernutrition

We examine whether access to aspects of social infrastructure, such as toilet facilities, drinking water on the premises and clean cooking fuels, leads to a decline in the incidence of undernutrition among women, which remains quite high in India. The analysis, based on the National Family Health Survey-3 (2005-06) unit-level data, suggests that access to these three aspects of social infrastructure is likely to enhance women's nutrition in India. Of these three aspects, the influence of access to clean cooking fuels remains quite significant. The findings, which assume importance from multiple angles, underline the importance of policies and programmes that ensure access to social infrastructure to the poor, in general, and poor women, in particular.

A Factsheet on Women's Malnutrition in India

This paper analyses levels of women's malnutrition in India over the seven years between 1998-99 and 2005-06, based on the National Family Health Survey. During a period of higher growth and a reasonable pace of reduction in poverty, malnutrition especially iron-deficiency anaemia has increased among women from disadvantaged social and economic groups. The adverse influence of maternal malnutrition extends beyond maternal mortality to causing intrauterine growth retardation, child malnutrition and an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases.

Health Inequality in India: Evidence from NFHS 3

This article utilises the National Family Health Survey-3 data and presents an empirical assessment of income-related health inequality in India. It undertakes a state-level analysis of inequities in child health by employing the widely accepted measures of concentration curves and concentration indices. It finds that the poorer sections of the population are beleaguered with ill health whether in the quest for child survival or due to anxieties pertaining to child nutrition. Further, an attempt is made to comprehend the relationship between income inequality and health status in the Indian context. The analysis reveals that the degree of health inequalities escalates when the rising average income levels of the population are accompanied by rising income inequalities. The income-poor sections have different needs and therefore, planning and intervention necessitates an understanding of the sources of inequality and recognition of the vulnerable groups to arrive at efficient resource allocation and policy decisions.

Muslim-Hindu Fertility Differences

This paper examines Muslim-Hindu differences in the desire for an additional child and the use of contraceptives. It uses data from the National Family Health Survey carried out in 1998-99 and employs multivariate and multilevel regression models in data analysis. Results show that Muslim-Hindu differences in the desire for additional children and use of contraceptives are pervasive across India and almost invariant across states and districts. This is consistent with the findings from our analysis of data from the first NFHS in 1992-93. However, Muslim-Hindu differences have narrowed between 1992-93 and 1998-99. It is thus argued that Muslim-Hindu fertility behaviour seems to be moving towards convergence. The pervasiveness of Muslim-Hindu differences in reproductive behaviour calls for complementary ?global explanations?.

Decline in Sex Ratio-Alternative Explanation Revisited

Decline in Sex Ratio Alternative Explanation Revisited S Irudaya Rajan U S Mishra K Navaneetham COMMENTING on Kundu and Sahu (hereafter referred as KS) on their note on variation in sex ratio (SR) [October 12,1991], we had provided an alternative explanation for the decline in SR noted in the 1991 Census [December 21, 1991]. Again, Saraswathi Raju and Mahendra K Premi (hereafter referred as RP) have joined the debate neither making any meaningful contribution nor clearing the doubts raised by us [April 25, 1992). RP in their re-examination of alternative explanation have made scathing criticisms 'blindly' against us.

Decline in Sex Ratio An Alternative Explanation

Decline in Sex Ratio: An Alternative Explanation? S Irudaya Rajan U S Mithra K Navaneetham SURPRISINGLY, the decline in SR as a matter of research has only recently attracted scholars from different disciplines other than trained demographers. Most of them neither provided any meaningful explanation for understanding the disparity/variation nor have added any new hypothesis which can be tested by further analysis. The present reaction on this issue is due to the fact that a reversal trend of 5 units decline was registered between 1981-91 after a positive expected trend of 4 units increase in SR during 1971-81. Up to 1981, the decline in SR was commonly explained by recourse to such features as the undercount of females and other discriminations against women. The 1981 census provided a relief for this explanation and most feminists believed that the increase in SR would continue for ever. In fact the provisional SR of the 1991 census (929) is lower than the 1971 (930). If one explains the present decline in SR with the same yardstick as earlier, it will mean that there is neither any improvement in the quality of census data nor have the measures taken to uplift the status of women been Quite successful. On this count, many scholars have come out with several possible alternative explanations. The article by Amitabh Kundu and Mahesh K Sahu (EPW, October 12) is one among them but has brought more confusion in place of suggesting any meaningful explanation.
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