Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday expressed confidence that spread of education among girls would result in a drop in the state’s fertility rate, which was higher than the national average. India’s total fertility rate currently stands at 2.3, whereas in case of Bihar it is above 3.
Launching the second phase of the “Vikas Samiksha Yatra” to review the implementation of various government schemes on the ground, Nitish Kumar highlighted several measures taken by his government to boost enrolment of girls in schools.
He said, “When we assumed power, we noticed that the state has a very high density of population. The problem got compounded by a fertility rate that was much higher than the national average. However, the same was found to be on par with the national average, or even lower, among girls who had studied up to Class 10 or Class 12.'
The chief minister said this while addressing a public meeting at Jamui after a review meeting with officials. “Our schemes such as free bicycles and uniforms to girls have led to a sharp rise in their enrolment in schools. Earlier, while only about one lakh girls reached high school every year, the number has now crossed seven lakhs,” he said.
“This is bound to have a bearing on the fertility rate and bring the growth in population under control,” he said at a village in Lakshmipur block of Jamui where he also launched various schemes and laid the foundations of several projects.
Later, addressing a public meeting in the adjoining district of Munger, Kumar underscored that he had taken the radical step of banning sale and consumption of liquor following a demand to the effect from women.
He also appealed to the people to take part in a human chain, proposed to be formed on January 21 next, to spread awareness against dowry and child marriage “with the same enthusiasm that was on display when we formed a human chain on the theme of prohibition this year in which four crore people participated”.