About 4.87 million women below the age of 18 years were married. Eighty six thousand girls were married before they were even ten years old. There were 7.33 lakh marriages of girls during 1996-2000 with marriage age between 10-13 years. About 7.1 girls of age 16-18 years got married during the same period. The situation is same for boys in the age group 18-21 years. There are no major states in the country where marriages of both boys and girls have not been performed before their attaining the legal age. These are interesting revelations from the 2001 census data, which, thanks to Prof. Mahendra K. Premi, are now presented in a simple manner in his book, Population of India in the New Millennium: Census 2001.
The book has nine chapters. The first chapter provides perspective on Indian Census, utility of the same and limitations. The author has described at the fore all limitations in using census data, especially in terms of using census for micro level information. The second chapter is mainly on demography?population growth and density, trends and patterns. The third chapter is an interesting chapter, for it provides information on very important current issue?urbanisation. For those who are working on issues of Bharat Nirman programme, especially those critiquing the scheme need to go through this chapter to provide cogent arguments. It has a section on future prospects, which however fails in an in-depth analysis. The fourth chapter is mainly the age and sex composition of Indian population. The only interesting part of this chapter is the section on elderly population and their dependency on working age population of the country.
The fifth chapter is very interesting and provides details on marital status, age of marriage, child marriage, bigamy and polygamy with a nice analysis. The sixth chapter is on religious composition of the population, an aspect which the census for the first time provided a detailed analysis. The sixth chapter has a resource of information on diverse issues and parameters related to religion. The seventh chapter is on literacy and educational attainment. The eighth chapter provides details on economic characteristics of the population from their work pattern, wage rate, employment status and rural-urban differentials. The best was reserved for the last chapter. It was the most innovative chapter, for it analyzes the demographic profile of Indian voters, the most powerful section of the society. It provides useful district, wise information of voters and their profiles.
(National Book Trust, India; A-5, Green Park, New Delhi-110 016.)