Skip to main content

UNICEF comes down heavily on Gujarat's social indicators, says they do not keep pace with economic growth

By Our Representative
In a major criticism of Gujarat's social sector, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), has said that "from an ancient shipping power to modern-day industrial state, Gujarat is known for its vibrant economy", and "located on India’s west coast, the state has a bustling economy that offers families a per capita income which is higher than the national average" -- but as for "social development indicators" these "have not been able to keep pace with economic development in this state of over 60 million people."
Introducing Gujarat on its website, UNICEF says, "Almost every second child in Gujarat under the age of five years is undernourished and three out of four are anaemic. Infant and maternal mortality rates have reduced very slowly in the last decade. Also, the preliminary results of Census 2011 show that while there has been a slight improvement in the child sex ratio (0-6 years) from 883 in 2001 to 886 today, the overall sex ratio in the state has declined from 920 to 918."
It further says, "Although Gujarat is recognized as one of the most prosperous states in India with very good infrastructure of highways and ports, and strong petrochemical and automobile industries and agro products, a lot needs to be done to improve socio-development indicators. UNICEF works closely with the Government of Gujarat and civil society organizations to fulfill the rights of children."
In its "Challenges and Opportunities" section on the state, the writeup says, "Just like the undernourished children, one mother in three in Gujarat struggles with acute undernutrition. About half of these women are also anaemic, putting them at risk of problems during pregnancy, childbirth and post natal period." It adds, "Lack of awareness of proper nutrition is partially responsible for this situation; only about half the mothers currently choose to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of their life."
It underlines, "This deprives children of the chance to acquire natural immunities passed on through breast milk and makes them more susceptible to common childhood diseases. Older babies are also not introduced to complementary feeding at the right age."
Under the section "Key Challenges and Opportunities", it points towards following factors:
• Girls are still less likely to complete their education than boys.
• During summers, some families may be seriously affected by scarcity of water. Major efforts by the state have provided piped water for about two thirds of the rural population.
• The risk of faecal contamination of water exists, since many households do not have access to toilets. Household sanitation is a major challenge which needs to be addressed.
• Most villages have a primary school nearby. More and more students are being enrolled every year in primary schools and the number of dropouts is declining dramatically. Recent studies, however, show that the quality of education needs to be improved, with less than half the students being able to read, write and understand mathematics at levels appropriate for their age.
• There is a large urban population with poor social sector systems.
• Poor social indicators exist, particularly in the tribal areas.
UNICEF's action, in this context, is to "help" the state government draw up "strategies to fight childhood undernutrition and morbidity, which includes initiatives about the importance of breastfeeding within the first hour of a baby’s life and regularly weighing the child to monitor growth", the writeup says, adding, "Pregnant and nursing mothers and young women are being equipped with information on how to improve their health and nutrition. In collaboration with the state government, communities are being trained to monitor the quality of drinking water and disseminating knowledge about safe storage of water and hygiene behaviour."
For this, UNICEF initiatives include helping ensure that all children are fully immunized against vaccine preventable diseases, even as supporting the state government in effective implementation of the Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses(IMNCI) strategy to ensure management of common illnesses at home or timely referral to the nearest health facility.
On the nutrition front, UNICEF seeks to "encouraging regular growth monitoring of all children between 0 to 6 months of age", even as "reducing micronutrient deficiencies by promoting use of iodized salt, consumption of iron folic acid tablets by all adolescent girls and vitamin A for all children up to five years."
As for child protection, UNICEF it is seeking to establish partnerships with civil society organizations in six cotton-producing districts – Kutch, Vadodara, Banaskantha, Patan, Rajkot and Bhavnagar – to mobilize the community around protection of child rights, with focus on eliminating child labour.
On the educational front, it is helping the state government to "develop models to provide early childhood education for children between 3 and 6 years and quality elementary education through activity-based learning for all children between 6 and 14 years."

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?