Although the overall child sex ratio has improved marginally from 946 to 948 in the State, the District Census Hand Book (DCHB) 2011 data indicates a huge dip in child sex ratio in the rural areas. This reaffirms the gender preference among the “son-worshipers” in rural areas.
According to a study conducted by economist Sangeeta Kattimani, the child sex ratio in rural areas in 19 districts was more than the State average of 950. However, it was less than the State average in 11 districts. The distressing fact, as per the result of the first phase of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) for 2015-16, was that the sex ratio of children aged below five was 910: 1,000. The same figure was 922: 1,000 in the 2005-06 NFHS. While the rural areas had a child sex ratio of 935, urban areas fared worse with only 875. Ms. Kattimani told The Hindu here on Monday that of the 27,397 villages in the State, the child sex ratio was less than 700 in 3,370 villages. In 32 per cent of the rural child population in 10,729 villages, the sex ratio was less than 900. In 2,968 villages, the sex ratio ranged between 900 and 949, she said.
The child sex ratio was more than 950 in 13,700 villages, which constituted 50 per cent of the rural child population. The situation was alarming in 486 villages in Hassan and 452 villages in Tumakuru districts with the figure less than 700.
Ms. Kattimani said that although the NFHS data showed sharp increase in the literacy level of women from 59.7 per cent in 2005-06 to 71.7 per cent now, the increase is noticed only among the urban women. “The percentage of those with 10 years of education in rural areas continues to be low at 35.1 per cent as against the State average of 45.5 per cent,” she said. More than 50 per cent of the child labourers in the age group of 10-14 were girls. The girls also outnumber boys in the out of school, never enrolled and drop out categories, especially in several villages in backward taluks.
She said that in as many as 12 taluks of the Hyderabad Karnataka region, the female literacy level was less than 50 per cent.
“Every alternate women in Mavinmatti in Surpur taluk of Yadgir district is illiterate … The female literacy rate in Nimbaidoddi of Deodurg taluk is as low as 3.95 per cent,” she added.