Patna, June 22 - Expressing concern at the high fertility rate at 3.7 per cent in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said that it was essential to step up the literacy rate to bring down the fertility rate at par with national ratio.
A strategy has to be formulated to check population growth rate in Bihar which is has the highest density as nine per cent of the country's people live in the state in an area at 2.1 per cent of India's entire geographical area, he said at a meeting of the population council.
It is due to poor literacy rate that 46 per cent girls get married before adulthood and 56 per cent married girls become mother by 19 years, Kumar said, adding that by the time they turn 24 most of them become mother of three children.
Attributing the high population growth rate to illiteracy, the Chief Minister said that it has been found that the fertility rate among illiterate families stood at 4.5 per cent as against 1.7 among families of graduation degree.
It was not that steps have not been taken to spread awareness among the people, particularly women, against the scourge of population growth and said that 32 lakh illiterate women were made literate under the 'Akshar Anchal Yojana.'
Kumar said that a target has been set up to bring down the population growth rate in Bihar at par with national ratio. PTI