Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Infant and under-five mortality among Dalits in India: Evidences from 2011 Census

J, Retnakumar and C.S., Krishnakumar (2020): Infant and under-five mortality among Dalits in India: Evidences from 2011 Census.

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Abstract

Hardly any attempts have been made to understand the dynamics of dalit mortality as it is highly relevant for addressing India’s health, mortality transition and human development. The National Family Health Survey, the only nation-wide sample survey believed to collect and divulge the most reliable estimates of health and mortality indicators for dalit population. However, many of their estimates in the latest round of the survey (NFHS-4) have been vehemently criticized as it failed in ensuring the quality of data on account of multiplicity of issues. In this context, we made an attempt to indirectly estimate the infant and under-five mortality rates using Brass and Coale method for dalits from the 2011 Census data. The Infant mortality rates of SC and ST population are estimated to be 59.7 and 67.7 (per 1000 live births) respectively. The under-five mortality rates are estimated to be 85.8 for the SC population and 97.0 for the ST population. As in case of general population, most of the northern states are in a disadvantageous position compared to the southern states in terms of these mortality indicators. The gender-specific mortality pattern highlights that mostly the male children stood behind their female counterparts in their first year of life as they are biologically stronger. As they move to higher ages, although mortality rates increases, the gender gap narrows down remarkably and female children have started experiencing higher under-five mortality rates in few states. These results unhitch the gray area of literature on the pattern of dalit mortality and evoke urgent policy interventions for gauging their mortality rates.

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