Bordered by the Maikal hill range in Chhattisgarh to its south, the district of Dindori in Madhya Pradesh has a tribal population of 64 per cent, with the Baigas being the most numerous group, according to the 2011 Census. The district’s Hindu population stands at 86 per cent, while Muslims and Christians constitute less than 1.5 per cent. More than 5 per cent of the population belongs to the Scheduled Castes.
Less than 80 per cent of the births in the district between 2010-11 and 2015-16 were registered, according to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-IV). However, the actual number of children with birth certificates may be smaller as registration does not imply that a certificate was provided at birth.
Read | Documents in Dindori
Around 0.08 per cent of the population — about 546 people in all — reported being homeless, which rules out the possibility of them being able to furnish any proof of residence. Homes in the district lack access to basic facilities, with around 93 per cent households not including a toilet on the premises, and 90 per cent practising open defecation.
Almost 92 per cent of the households do not have a drainage system for used waste water, and 56.3 per cent do not have a kitchen. Additionally, about 97 per cent of the households use fuels such as firewood or crop residue for cooking, making them vulnerable to intestinal and respiratory illnesses. Only 7.4 per cent have access to drinking water at home. Less than one per cent have a computer, television set, phone or a vehicle.
This predominantly rural district has an average literacy rate of 64 per cent, according to the 2011 Census. More than 40 per cent of girls of school-going age have never attended school, according to NFHS-IV. Almost half of all women are illiterate, and only 13.6 per cent have received education beyond secondary school. More than one-third of the women in the district (37 per cent) were married before the legal marriage age of 18.
Low levels of education among women are also linked to poor health and nutrition in their offspring, even after taking into account the effects of poverty. More than half (50.6 per cent) of all children are not immunised against polio, tuberculosis and measles — diseases that can be easily prevented with timely vaccination, thus reducing child mortality. Close to 46 per cent of children under the age of six are too short for their age — much higher than the all-India average of 38 per cent. Two-thirds of the women and an equal proportion of children under the age of six are anaemic. Less than 2 per cent of children eat the recommended number of meals consisting of the required food groups.
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