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

P N Mari BhatSubscribe to P N Mari Bhat

Factors Influencing the Use of Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques and the Sex Ratio at Birth in India

Data from the 2001 Census reveal that the sex ratio at birth may have increased by 6 percentage points in India since 1985, and in some parts by 20 percentage points. Data from the National Family Health Survey of 1998-99 show that while the use of prenatal diagnostic techniques has become fairly common only a minority misuses them for aborting female foetuses. The effect of PNDT use on the sex ratio at birth is found to be contingent on whether women are in the male-selection situation (i e, with at least one previous birth but have had no sons) or not. While income and education are found to increase the use of PNDT, their misuse is governed more by cultural factors and the sex composition of children already born.

Trivialising Religion

Trivialising Religion Causes of Higher Muslim Fertility P N MARI BHAT The collection of papers in the EPW special issue on fertility behaviour of Hindus and Muslims (January 29, 2005) has thrown up several contentious issues that need to be debated further. Although a consensus seems to have emerged that the current Hindu-Muslim fertility differential cannot wholly be explained by socioeconomic or residential differences, there remains considerable disagreement on the size and trends in the fertility differential, and more so on its causes. As an author of one of the papers included in the special issue [Bhat and Zavier 2005], one last attempt is made here to explain why I disagree with the positions taken in some of the papers.

Role of Religion in Fertility Decline

The fertility of Muslims, which was about 10 per cent higher than that of Hindus before independence, is now 25 to 30 per cent higher than the Hindu rate, and the difference according to religion is larger than the difference between the forward and depressed Hindu castes and tribes. This paper subjects the micro data from the National Family Health Surveys to a multivariate analysis to assess the contribution of socio-economic factors to the fertility differential by religion. It also explores the possible reasons for the large, residual effect of religion on fertility, and causes for the religious disparities in socio-economic conditions. The paper concludes with an assessment of the implications of the current demographic trends for the future population sizes of the two religious groups.

Two-Child Norm

Two-Child Norm In Defence of Supreme Court Judgment P N MARI BHAT In the aftermath of the Supreme Court

On the Trail of 'Missing' Indian Females

This paper seeks to explain the century-long trend of falling proportion of females in the Indian population. In the first part, some clues to the puzzle are unearthed by identifying the age groups, regions and social groups of the estimated 21 million females gone 'missing' between 1901 and 1991. In particular, it is shown that overtime there has been a convergence of the sex ratios of adults and children, and female-male ratios declined in regions and social groups where the adult sex ratios were substantially higher than the child sex ratios. In the first half of the last century, the overall sex ratio declined because of the decline at adult ages, especially at age 40 and over. After independence, the decline has been more concentrated at ages under 15. However, census data should be interpreted with caution because improving quality of age data on children can produce a spurious trend of falling sex ratios at certain childhood ages. In the light of these disclosures, the second part of the paper reviews the plausible explanations for the long-term trend of falling female-male ratio in India.

Findings of National Family Health Survey

This paper attempts to show that the rich data on demographic, health and background characteristics of respondents and their households collected in the National Family Health Survey can profitably be analysed at the regional level. It checks the validity of estimates for a few variables derived for 76 natural regions from the survey data with similar estimates based on the 1991 Census. After ensuring consistency between these estimates, regional variations in many important socio-economic characteristics - for which the NFHS is at present the only source - are studied through maps generated from a GIS software. The spatial patterns that emerge from this analysis highlight the limitations of state-specific models of demographic change, and provide some interesting evidence on much debated nexus between poverty, malnutrition and disease. The paper concludes with a presentation of survey data on health and living conditions in the slums of Delhi.

End of Demographic Transition by 2003 AD

End of Demographic Transition by 2003 AD? P N Mari Bhat I read with interest the recent exchange between K C Seal and P P Talwar [1] and V Gowariker [2] on the possibility of India achieving the replacement-level fertility by the year 2003. As the author of a recent paper on a similar theme in this journal [3] 1 feel obliged to make a brief comment. Like Gowariker, I am not one among those experts in India or abroad who assert that the expenditure incurred on family planning over the last four decades had gone to waste. But 1 do consider Gowariker's prediction that birth rate in India would reach 21 per thousand around 2003 as too optimistic. Given the eminence of the person making this forecast, it has the potential to create considerable confusion all around. Hence we must examine the evidence before us as carefully and as dispassionately as we could.

Levels and Trends in Indian Fertility-A Reassessment

A Reassessment P N Mari Bhat Using the 1991 Census data on the number of children in the age group 0-6 years, this paper attempts to assess the trends in birth rate in the 1980s. For purposes of comparison similar estimates have also been made from the 1981 Census data. Overall the demographic scenario revealed by the 1991 Census is one of dynamism rather than stagnation of levels.

Demographic Transition in Kerala-A Reply

which the population above c = 53.83 is divided; Fi the relative frequency of each fractile group and ci the mid-point of the ith fractile group. In actual fact, we have divided the households consuming more than 295.38 grammes per capita per day into eight fractile groups, each consisting of 10.66 per cent of rural households. Using function (8), we determine the limits (c4, ci+1) within which the fractile groups lie The per capita consumption of cereals corresponding to the mid-point ci. of the ith fractile group is taken to represent the average per capita consumption of that fractile group. This is done with the help of function (9). A similar exercise is carried out to calculate the excess consumption of rural households consuming over 500 grammes per adult. This estimation is carried out separately for the cultivating and non-cultivating households in the populat ion. We have excluded agricultural labour households although some of them may consume in excess of 400 grammes per adult per day.

Demographic Transition in Kerala Revisited

P N Mari Bhat S Irudaya Rajan Many competing hypotheses about Kerala's demographic transition have flourished and remained untested for long. This article undertakes a thorough review of demographic trends in Kerala by a careful scrutiny of evidence presented by various data sources. By employing a quantitative approach and using data for districts in and around Kerala, the authors test some of the hypotheses put forward to explain the shift in levels of birth and death rates. The article also briefly discusses the implications of the current declines for the future of the Kerala economy and assesses the prospects for a similar change elsewhere in India.
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