Fertility rate in Himachal down to 1.9 percent

Shimla: Against a national population growth rate of 17.64 that of Himachal was recorded at 12.81 in the 2011 census which counted 68.56 lakh people living in the state and is much lower than the projected population of 70.29 lakh for 2010.

Speaking on the occasion of World Population Day – 2011 at a function in historic Gaiety Theater, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said that fertility rate in Himachal had come down to 1.9 percent compared to 2.62 percent at the national level.

The states population which was 34.6 lakhs in 1971 and had a growth rate of 23.04 percent had doubled to 68.56 lakhs as per the 2011 preliminary figures of the census operation, said Dhumal.

Whereas the national sex ratio was 940, in Himachal it was 974 females against 1000 males. With a females sex ratio of 1017 the tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti had the highest sex ratio in the country, he said.

Concerted efforts were being made to further improve sex ratio in zero to six years age group, said the chief minister adding that it had increased to 906 from 894 recorded in 2001.

Talking about erosion of social and moral values was one of the reason for female foeticide that could imbalance the entire social system, he said, “pre-natal tests had been banned in the State and made a cognizable offence.”

Mentioning the various empowerment programs girl child and women, he cited free education of the girls, 50 percent reservation for women in Panchayati Raj institutions, Beti Hai Anmol and Mukhya Mantri Kanyadaan Yojna.

Prinicpal secretary PC Dhiman said that with the world population touching 700 crore, every 7th person was an Indian. By end of the century the world population would exceed1010 crore.

Rakesh Kanwar, project director NRHM said that female population on border districts of the State was low compared to tribal areas where it was reasonably better.

Planners in a bind

Planners are in a bind about the 2011 provisional census figures because after taking projected birth rates into account with 2001 census for a base, Himachal Pradesh projected population for 2011 was about 70.43 lakhs and for 2010 it was 70.29.

Population projections based on the 2001 census had shown a population of 68.06 lakhs for the year 2008.

With the 2011 provisional census coming up with a population of 68,56,509 for Himachal, the states plans size and other development funding is likely to be impacted because most funding is based on population figures.

Fearing a loss of funds, the government is doing a test check of the 2011 census population to ascertain whether there was an error or the population had genuinely declined thus much.

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