Demographic Imbalance Between Men, Women Deteriorated In J&K

Demographic Imbalance Between Men, Women Deteriorated In J&K

15 February 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: Despite launch of various schemes aimed at improving the status of women in various spheres of life, the demographic imbalance between men and women has deteriorated in Jammu and Kashmir due to reduced sex-ratio and low literacy among the females thereby posing major challenges before the Government in the coming years. According to the Economic Survey, the women constitute around 47% of the total population of Jammu and Kashmir and the development of women, no doubt, has been a part of the development planning progress right from inception of Five Year Plans but the shift in approach from welfare to development towards women took place in a focused manner in the 6th and 7th Five Year Plan. The 8th Five Year Plan promised to ensure that benefits of development don’t by-pass women and the 9th Five Year Plan changed the strategy for women from development to empowerment and emphasis on preparation of separate Women Component Plan by identifying specific schemes-projects having direct bearing on welfare and development of women. The 10th Five Year Plan further strengthened the implementation of Women Component Plan. Moreover, the Women and Child Development Department in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has also enjoined upon the States to monitor closely the flow of benefits of various schemes for the empowerment of women on regular basis. “Though these initiatives have helped in improving the status of women in various spheres to a great extent but the imbalance still exists which needs to be addressed over the years”, the Economic Survey said, adding “in the 11th Plan numerous steps were taken but the targets could be only partially achieved and in the 12th Plan the Government’s priority would be to consolidate the existing initiatives and interventions relating to women, build upon the achievements and also move beyond to respond to new challenges”. According to the Economic Survey, female population of J&K slashed down from 47.15% of the total population in 2001 to 46.88% in 2011. As per the details from Census 2011, J&K has population of 12,548,926 of which male and female are 6,665,561 and 5,883,365 respectively indicating a reduced sex ratio of 883 as compared to 892 in 2001. “The population growth in this decade was 23.71% while in previous decade it was 29.04%. The population of J&K forms 1.04 per cent of India in 2011 and in 2001 the figure was 0.99 per cent and this difference indicates a much higher rate of growth in comparison to average All India growth rate”, the Economic Survey said, adding “demographic imbalance between men and women, however, continues to exist and has further deteriorated in J&K”. Stating that sex ratio (females per thousand of males) is an important indicator of the social conditions particularly with respect to women’s status in any society, the Economic Survey said, “low sex ratio shows indulgence of artificial interventions, distorting the biological trend and natural balance in terms of number of females per thousand males”, adding “an important concern in the present status of J&K’s demographic transition relates to adverse sex ratio as the ratio as per Census of 2001 was 892 and the same as per 2011 Census is 883, which is a matter of great concern and needs to be addressed on priority”. Describing education as very effective tool for women’s empowerment not only from the point of view of literacy but because of inter-linkages with other social parameters like population growth, health care and education of children, the Survey said, “despite its linkage to so many positive outcomes and the progress made over the past 50 years, female literacy remains low in J&K as compared to men”. The Survey said that J&K’s literacy rate has increased by 13% in the last decade-from 55% in 2001 Census to 68% in the 2011 Census, adding while female literacy has increased from 42.22% in 2011 Census to 58.01% in 2011 gender differential still exists both in rural and urban areas and is comparatively higher in rural areas. “This can be attributed to a number of factors like lack of access to schools, parents feeling insecure about sending girl children to schools, their engagement in agricultural and other domestic activities”, the Survey said.