By 2021, an average Indian will live around six years more than he or she did in 2001. According to the Union health ministry’s latest projections, the life expectancy at birth (LEB)—the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year—of an Indian male will be 69.8 years, compared to 63.8 years in 2001 and 65.8 at present.
According to projections published in the latest Family Welfare Statistics 2009, a male child born in Kerala is expected to live till 75.2 years by 2021 while a female child will live till 78.6 years. The second best place will be Delhi where the LEB for a man will be 73.5 years in 2021 and 77.4 years for a woman. In comparison, an average male in Delhi lives till 71 years of age while a female lives till 74.8 at present.
Speaking to TOI, Union health secretary K Sujatha Rao said, “With the thrust we are giving to reducing neonatal deaths, the life expectancy of an average Indian is bound to increase. Though it has been stagnant at around 63 years for the past decade, it will increase by at least six years in the next decade.’’
An interesting projection made by the ministry is that women in most states will live for over 70 years by 2021, the exceptions being Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh (69.5), Madhya Pradesh (69.3) and Assam (68.8). However, the LEB of men will be below 70 years in a lot more states.
The states where LEB in 2021 of men will be above 70 years are Himachal Pradesh (72.4), Gujarat (71.9), Punjab (71.5), West Bengal (71), Maharashtra (70.9), the north-eastern states except Assam at 70.9, Tamil Nadu and Bihar at 70.6 and Karnataka at 70 years. In comparison, men in Rajasthan will live till 69.6 years, Jharkhand 69.5, Andhra Pradesh 69.4, Jammu and Kashmir 69.2, Uttarakhand 68.5 years in 2021, Uttar Pradesh 68.7, Madhya Pradesh 68, Orissa 67.8, Assam 67.1 and Chhattisgarh 66.5 years.
India tops in under-5 mortality
With 17.26 lakh deaths in 2009, India had the highest number of children who died before they turned five, a UNICEF report has revealed. In fact, India (21%) and Nigeria (10%) together accounted for nearly a third of the global under-five deaths last year. P 12 Women in 19 states will live up to 70
Rao said, “We have already started making a dent in neonatal deaths which will increase the lifespan. We are increasing institutional deliveries and giving incentives to women coming to a hospital to deliver their child. This way, we cut down on deaths at birth. Then we have started homebased neonatal care by community health workers for women who return from an institution delivery. This way, we are reducing deaths of children within the first month of life on account of low weight.’’
“We are also starting sick new born units in all district hospitals for these children. Neonatal and infant mortality directly affects life expectancy,’’ Rao added.
As far as women are concerned, the LEB in 2021 in Himachal Pradesh will be 76.1 years, Gujarat 74.9 years, Punjab 74.8 years and Maharashtra 74.7. Females born in Karnataka will have a LEB of 74.5 years by 2021, West Bengal 74.3, Tamil Nadu 74, Haryana 73.7 years, Andhra Pradesh 73.3 and Rajasthan 73.1 years.
Pointing out some interesting facts, a health ministry official said, “At present in 2010, males born in only two states—Delhi (71.4) and Kerala (72)—live beyond 70 years of age. This will increase to three states in 2011 and six in 2016. In comparison, women in 10 states live beyond the age of 70 at present. This will increase to 13 states in 2011, 17 states in 2016 and 19 states in 2021.’’