After Bihar, Rajasthan has the highest difference in infant mortality rate (IMR) between females and males. In the state, the IMR for females per 1,000 live births is 49, while IMR for males is 44 deaths per 1,000 live births in the state.
There is a gap of five deaths per 1000 live births between boys and girls, says the recently released SRS survey (a government statistics). In Bihar, the gap in IMR is seven deaths per 1000 live births between females and males, which is highest in the country. Rajasthan ranked second in the list of states with highest gap in IMR among males and females.
"Our hospital figures reflect the same trend. More boys are brought to the hospital in comparison to girls when they fall ill. The ratio of male-female patients brought to the hospital is 60:40. It shows boys get priority when it comes to providing nutrition and critical care during illness," said Dr Ashok Gupta, superintendent, J K Lon hospital, government's biggest child speciality hospital in the state.
The reason to worry is that the gap between IMR of males and females is getting wider with each passing year in the state. SRS shows that the gap was 3 deaths per 1000 live births in 2011, but it rose to 4 in 2012 and it remained 4 in 2013 but increased to 5 deaths in 2014.
On the positive side, there are also states which do not have any gap between IMR of males and females like Assam, where IMR for both sexes is 49. Tamil Nadu has an IMR of 20 for both sexes.
Besides, states like Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have a gap of 1 death between IMR of males and females. Rest of the states have a gap of either two or three deaths. West Bengal has a gap of five deaths but the IMR among males is 26, which is quite less in comparison to national average (37) and it is 31 among females, which is quite less in comparison to national average of 40 deaths per 1000 live births of females.
What is even more worrisome is that IMR among females has not taken a dip in Rajasthan. For the past two years, it has stagnated at 49 deaths per 1000 live births. However, IMR among males is constantly reducing. The same report released by the Centre has also revealed that sex ratio at birth (SRB) is continuously falling in rural areas in the state while in urban areas it has slightly increased. The decreasing SRB in the state and higher IMR among females in comparison to males would further affect sex ratio in the state badly.