India's skewed sex ratio for the first time, after falling steadily for three consecutive years, showed a turnaround in 2018, thanks to a marked improvement in sex ratio in many states, according to the data revealed in the latest Sample Registration System (SRS).
However, some of the states also registered their worst five-year sex ratio record in 2018 and one of them, registering a continuous drop for the fifth consecutive year is the national capital.
Data, published in the SRS carried out by the census commissioner’s office, shows that for 2012-14 India's sex ratio was 906, for 2013-15 it dropped to 900, for 2014-16 it was 898, for 2015-17 it was 896 and it improved to 899 for the period of 2016-18.
The falling sex ratio was arrested because of the combined effect of many states such as Andhra Pradesh (920), Assam at 925, Jammu and Kashmir at 927, Jharkhand at 923. These states recorded their best ever sex ratio between 2016 and 18.
Access to primary and higher-level education, awareness programmes run by the central and state governments are likely to have contributed towards this turnaround.
Jammu and Kashmir, which was still a state when this survey was carried out, was the only state which, despite the fall in sex ratio throughout India in the previous years, kept improving upon its tally getting from 899 in 2012-14 to 927 in the latest survey.
However, as the rest of the states were improving their sex ratios, Delhi kept sliding in this parameter -- going from 876 in 2012-14, to 869 in 2013-15, to 857 in 2014-16, 850 in 2015-17 and further down to 844 in 2016-18.
While the drop was not consistent in case of some other states, some including Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Bihar, registered their lowest sex ratio in the latest 2016-2018 period.
In fact, Bihar, for the first time in the last five years, slipped below 900, registering a ratio of 895 in 2016-18.
Among all the states, whose data was broken into their rural and urban domains, it was rural Haryana, which registered the most skewed gender ratio of an abysmal 828 females to 1,000 males.
It was also in a rural part of a state – Chhattisgarh – that the country saw its best sex ratio of 976, which was actually lower than 985 registered in the previous 2015-17 term.