“Female literacy is the best tool to check the growth of population,” Ramachandra Kamath, head of the Department of Public Health, Manipal University, said on Monday.

He was speaking at a function to mark World Population Day organised by the Department of Health and Family Welfare and other organisations here. The theme of this year's day was “Small family – Overall development”.

Dr. Kamath said that increasing life expectancy, medical technology, child marriage, illiteracy, poverty, preference for male child and ignorance were contributing to the growth of population.

Nearly 16 per cent of the country's population could be found in Uttar Pradesh alone. A two-child norm was the answer to the problem of population growth. The one-child norm followed in China had failed. Another problem was the adverse sex ratio. There were now 940 females for 1,000 males in the country. This had to be reversed, he said. After 2026, the number of people aged above 60 would be more than the number of young people in the country. The population of Karnataka as per the 2011 Census was 6.11 crore. The population density in the State was 275 per sq. km. The population of Udupi district was 11.7 lakh as per the 2011 Census as against 11.13 lakh in 2001. But the sex ratio was dropping in the district. There were 1,130 females for every 1,000 males in the district in 2001. But in 2011, there were 1,093 females for every 1,000 males. “If this adverse sex ratio is not checked, it will have major consequences,” Dr. Kamath said.

President of the zilla panchayat Katapady Shankar Poojary spoke.

More In: Mangaluru