India's birth rate has declined by 0.2 points with Kerala registering the lowest in 2013, according to the latest official data.
The crude birth rate (CBR) at the national level during 2013 stands at 21.4, a decline of 0.2 points over 2012. "The highest CBR has been reported in Bihar (27.6) and the minimum in Kerala (14.7)," Sample Registration System (SRS) survey said.
SRS is the largest demographic survey in the country, done by the Registrar General of India, mandated to provide annual estimates of fertility as well as mortality indicators at the state and national levels. The survey further said there had been a decline of 1.4 points in the CBR for the country from 2008 to 2013. "The corresponding decline in rural CBR is 1.5 points and in urban CBR 1.2 points," the survey said.
The report said the total fertility rate (TFR) - the average number of children born to a woman - for the country has declined 2.3 in 2013 as against 2.4 in 2012. About states, it said that during 2013, Bihar had reported the highest TFR (3.4) while West Bengal reported the lowest TFR (1.6).
The survey said the replacement level TFR, of 2.1, has been attained by West Bengal (1.6), Delhi (1.7), Himachal Pradesh (1.7), Punjab (1.7), Tamil Nadu (1.7), Andhra Pradesh (1.8), Kerala (1.8), Maharashtra (1.8), Jammu & Kashmir (1.9), Karnataka (1.9) & Odisha (2.1)
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had in July told Parliament in a written reply that inspite of perceptible decline in TFR from 3.6 in 1991 to 2.4 in 2012, India is yet to achieve the replacement level of 2.1 due to slow decline in fertility and wide variations among states.