While mass predilections in Bihar are still veering towards the male child, the Nitish Kumar government will be pleased with the provisional Census 2011 data for the State, which has indicated a 20 per cent jump in the State's female literacy rate.

As per the report, literacy rates for women in Bihar have soared from 33.12 per cent in 2001 to 53.33 per cent this census year.

The State's overall literacy rate has also shot up during the past decade, and now stands at 63.82 per cent — marking a 17 per cent jump from the 47 per cent in 2001; 21 of the 38 districts in the State have clocked up a female literacy rate higher than the State average, with the Naxal-affected Munger district topping the female literacy chart, recording an impressive 65.53 per cent.

Sex ratio

However, the overall sex ratio has dropped to 916 females per 1,000 males from 919 in 2001, with a sharp fall in the child population (aged 0-6 years) from 942 girl children in 2001 to 933.

In the comparatively urban Patna, Bihar's most populous district, the girl child (0-6 years) ratio has dropped to an alarming 899 girls per 1,000 boys from the erstwhile 923 in 2001.

In fact, six of the State's eight urban districts including Patna, have shown a marked decline in the child sex ratio since 2001 — implying a lot of work for the special squads to be set up soon by the Bihar government for checking prenatal sex determination.

Of these, Bhagalpur and Begusarai have registered precipitous drops, standing at 934 and 911 from their erstwhile figures of 966 and 946 respectively.

Dubious distinction

Gopalganj tops the sex-ratio list in the State with 1015 females per 1000 males, while Munger and Bhagalpur have the dubious distinction of having the lowest sex-ratios with both districts recording a bare 879 females per 1000 males, despite Munger having the State's highest female literacy ratio.