Domestic, sexual violence rising in state: NFHS data

The rise of spousal violence among pregnant married women has come down marginally from 6.5 in 2014-15 to 5.8. Young women (18-29), who have experienced sexual violence by age 18, has risen from 10.3 in 2014-15 to 11.0, data shows, indicating to a higher instances of domestic and sexual violence during the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns.
NFHS points to rising instances of domestic and sexual violence against women in Karnataka (Representative use)
NFHS points to rising instances of domestic and sexual violence against women in Karnataka (Representative use)
Published on Nov 25, 2021 12:45 AM IST
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BySharan Poovanna, Bengaluru

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 5, released on Wednesday, points to rising instances of domestic and sexual violence against women in the state. The survey shows that married women, between the ages of 18-49, who have ever experienced spousal violence, has more than doubled from 20.6 in 2014-15 to 44.5%.

The rise of spousal violence among pregnant married women has come down marginally from 6.5 in 2014-15 to 5.8. Young women (18-29), who have experienced sexual violence by age 18, has risen from 10.3 in 2014-15 to 11.0, data shows, indicating to a higher instances of domestic and sexual violence during the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns.

The survey was carried out from July 10, 2019 to December 11, 2019 by Nielsen India which gathered information from 26,574 households -- 30,455 women and 4,516 men.

“This is definitely quite a dramatic increase and from what we understand, these kinds of situations have only worsened in the context of Covid,” Dr Adithya Pradyumna, faculty member, Azim Premji University told Hindustan Times on Wednesday.

The survey paints a contrasting picture of the recently released National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data that shows a decrease in crimes against women in 2020.

According to the NCRB data, Karnataka saw a reduction in cases of crime against women registered in the state from 13,514 in 2018 and 13,828 cases in 2019 which reduced to 12,680 in 2020. A case of assault on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty was recorded the most in the state. 4,751 cases were registered under the section which amount to sexual harassment, HT reported on September 16.

Data from the NFHS also show that issues like obesity have been on the rise among adult male and females.

The Karnataka fact sheet of key indicators shows that women who are overweight (as a percentage) have gone up from 22.3 in 2014-15 to 30.1 among women and from 22.1 to 30.9 among men between the ages of 15-49.

Even in the indicators that have seen positive developments, there appears to be a stark contrast among regions with several districts of north-eastern Karnataka, among the most backward in the state, showing significantly less improvement but the average going up as some of the more prosperous southern districts raise the average of the state.

The contrast is ominous as it emphasises on the rising regional imbalance in Karnataka where prosperity and promise of one region balances out abject poverty of millions by the law of averages.

For instance, the per capita income of the Bengaluru region in 2018-19 stood at 301,748 as against the Kalaburagi division, which includes six of some of the most backward districts in the country, at 114,133, data from the state economic survey show.

The Belagavi division or Kittur-Karnataka region (earlier known as Mumbai-Karnataka) has a per capita income of 128,761 as against Mysuru division which stands at 205,829.

However, the average of the state’s per capita income (at current prices) saw a rise to 226,796 in 2020-21, registering a 1.6% increase as against 223,175 the previous year, shouldered by the revenues earned largely by Bengaluru’s vibrant technology, aerospace, biotechnology and startup ecosystem.

Dr Pradyumna also points to the growing costs for delivery of a child at public healthcare facilities.

The average out-of-pocket expenditure per delivery in a public health facility has increased from 4,824 in 2014-15 to 5,042 in 2019-20, NFHS data shows.

Rising cost of healthcare in public facilities indicates a larger problem of corruption, restricting access to subsidised healthcare and recurring costs associated with them.

“The fact that people have to spend that much money itself is a matter of concern. If people are reporting that they are spending almost 5,000 for a delivery is a matter of concern that too in a public facility. This shows that public facilities that should ideally be giving fully subsidised care, especially for things such as delivery, people are spending around 5,000 and there needs to be some further studies on where these expenses are being incurred,” he said.

A recent study by the Azim Premji University, released in November, shows that healthcare has a disproportionate burden on the poor, especially those living in urban areas. “Our evidence from Bengaluru shows that 30% of even the poorest quintile seek delivery care from private sources. Since there is a 10-fold difference in cost between public and private facilities, this significantly adds to their financial burden,” the report by AZU shows.

The emphasis on health insurance with union government schemes like Ayushman Bharat too appears not to have the desired impact, NFHS data shows. Households with any usual member covered under a health insurance or financing scheme remain stagnant at 28.1 as compared to the 2014-15.

“There seems to have been some focus on Ayushman Bharat and other sorts of insurance schemes but for whatever reason the proportion of households that are covered with insurance seems to have remained stagnant,” Dr Pradyumna said.

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Saturday, May 21, 2022