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In Rajasthan, literacy doesn't mean better sex ratios

May 28, 2013

Despite a literacy rate of 66.1 per cent, the child sex ratio in 0-6 year category in the West Indian state of Rajasthan is a shocking 888.

If you thought high literacy rate necessarily translates into a better sex ratio, think again. A primary abstract of census 2011, released by the chief minister of the West Indian state of Rajasthan on Sunday, shows that despite a literacy rate of 66.1 per cent the child sex ratio in 0-6 year category in the state is a shocking 888. Worse, except Kota and a few others, the ratio lags the state average in every district ranking at the top of its literacy list. That is, if the census findings are to be believed, low sex ratios and high literacy rates appear to be inversely related in the state. On, the other hand, districts in the literacy doghouse have done relatively well on the sex count.

For example, Banswara, which has a literacy rate of 56.3%, way below the state average, recorded the best child sex ratio (934). Similarly, Pratapgarh with a literacy rate of 56% has the second highest child sex ratio at 933 girls per 1000 boys. Bhilwara, Udaipur and Dungarpur districts too conform to this disconcerting trend.

On the other hand, Jhunjhunu with a literacy rate of 74.1%, which is next only to Jaipur and Kota, has recorded the lowest sex ratio in the state of 837. More than 75 per cent of Jaipur’s population is literate but the city’s sex ratio has in fact fallen by 38 points from an already abysmal level to 861. Sikar’s ratio is 848, the lowest in the state, despite an impressive literary rate of 71.9%.

Only three districts-Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh and Jaisalmer- registered an increase in child sex ratio. The statistics doubt the effectiveness of the various campaigns initiated by the government departments to check feoticide and improve the child sex ratio figures in the state.

Rajasthan's child sex ratio has declined by 21 points from 909 to 888 even as its literacy rate has climbed by 5.7%, from 60.4 to 66.1). Save a few districts like Kota, Ajmer and Barmer, the trend of rising literacy and falling sex ratio pervades across the state, the most dramatic examples being Dungarpur where the ratio receded by 33 points lockstep with a 10.2 per cent rise in literacy and Tonk, which witnessed a 35-point slump in child sex ratio alongside a 9.6% increase in literacy rate.

Only in few districts were high literacy rates accompanied by improved sex ratio figure, with Kota topping the list. The district enjoys a literacy rate of 76.6% and an above-average sex ratio of 899. Ajmer too has a high sex ratio (901) alongside a high literacy rate of 69.3%.

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