The first time since the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) began in 1992, India has more women than men on record. As per the fifth edition of NFHS, there were 1,020 women for 1,000 men in India. “India moves in the league of the developed countries,” said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a statement, adding, “Sex Ratio of more than 1000 has largely been observed in developed countries. For the first time, due to various measures taken for women empowerment such as financial inclusion and for combating gender bias and disparities, the sex ratio in the country has been reported at 1020 (more females than males).”
According to the findings of the survey, the birthrate also seems to be slowing in India, the second-most populous nation in the world. “The Total Fertility Rate (children per woman) in the country has reached the replacement level of fertility, a significant demographic milestone. The TFR for India in 2019-21 has reached 2.0 children per woman compared to 2.2 in 2015-16,” the Ministry said. “This means women are giving lesser number of births in their reproductive period compared to earlier. This also indicates better knowledge and use of family planning services, late entry into marriage/union, etc,” it added.
The survey also showed significant improvement in sex ratio at birth. As per the Ministry, the sex ratio at birth has improved from 919 in 2015-16 to 929 in 2019-20. “This indicates the positive impact of measures such as the implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, and various other interventions,” noted the government.
Further, the Ministry said that the data of the survey shows the birth registration (with the civil authority) for children under age 5 years has increased from 79.7 per cent (NFHS-4, 2015-16) to 89.1 per cent. The government’s data also showed that in 41 per cent of the households, at least one usual member is covered under a health insurance/financing scheme, “a rise from 28.7 per cent in the last round.” It further said that the death registration with the civil authority has significantly improved in the country.
The Ministry released the NFHS-5 (2019-21) results for India on November 24. Next NFHS to begin in 2022 and will appear in the public domain in 2023.