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

What's behind public sector banks showing huge profits in 2nd quarter of 2022-23?

By Thomas Franco*  The quarter two results of the public sector banks (PSBs) appear to be noteworthy compared to a few years ago. All these banks showed good profits in the financial year 2021-22. Twelve PSBs made a net profit of Rs 25,685 crore in quarter 2 of FY23 and a total of Rs 40,991 crore in the first half of 2023. The combined profit of 12 banks in March 2022 was Rs 66,539 crore which was 110% more than 2021 – Rs. 31,816 crore. The Asset Quality Review of 2015 saw a surge in NPAs of PSBs jumping to Rs 8.96 lakh crore in March 2018 from Rs 2.17 lakh crore in March 2014. This was simply because the norms for NPAs were changed from 180 days to 90 days, and all restructuring of even genuine accounts was done away with. In 2018 NPA of SBI was 5.73% which has come down to 0.8% in Q2 of FY23. The NPA of Canara Bank has come down to 2.19% from 7.48% in Mar 2018. The same trend is seen in all public banks. Now SBI has seen a jump of 74% in its net profit, while Canara Bank’s profit is

Business back to normal? IIM-A survey says, sales expectations have sharply improved

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management’s Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), which polls a panel of business leaders to find out their perception of slack in economy, including their inflation expectations, year-ahead cost expectations and the factors influencing price changes, such as profit and sales levels, etc., has said that the cost perceptions data indicates signs of moderation in price pressures. Carried out for September, the survey says, the cost pressure of the reporting firms has shifted from “very significant increase (over 6%) to moderate increase (3.1% to 6%).” It adds, “The percentage of firms perceiving over 10% cost increase y-o-y has declined. Over 21% of the firms in September 2022 round of the survey perceive that costs have increased very significantly (over 10%) – down from 26% recorded in August 2022.” Claiming to be a unique survey, in that it goes straight to businesses -- the price setters -- rather than to consumers or household

Innovative, Hrishikesh Mukherjee's movies often banked on excessive sentimentalism

By Harsh Thakor*  Late Hrishikesh Mukherjee more popularly known as Hrishi Da, whose birth centenary was celebrated recently, ranks amongst India’s most progressive and innovative film makers, exhibiting mastery in craft of making socially relevant themes. Mukherjee knitted plots together with great visualisation and sensitivity, be it in comedy, pathos, anger or romance, weaving every ingredient in proper proportion.  Melodrama was restrained and scripts dissected with surgical skill. Without over romanticisation, Mukherjee would do complete justice to the role of the character. He did not champion art films, but gave commercial films an artistic touch. Rarely have artists transcended the medium of cinema to project the real essence of their cultural values so or film directors who narrate a simple tale of regular families that have characters of unique shades, characters which are bound to touch human emotions universally. His characters frequently underwent life-changing journeys

GoI's productivity linked incentives to corporates 'without independent analysis'

Counterview Desk  Wondering how prudent is the Government of India's (GoI's) Productivity Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, EAS Sarma, former secretary, GoI, in a representation to Nirmala Sitharaman, Union finance minister, has said it appears to be nothing more than subsidy to the private sector without any responsibility. Giving a specific example against the backdrop of announcement of 50% subsidy covering the project cost of the Vedanta Group's decision to set up a semiconductor fabrication plant in Gujarat, in collaboration with Foxconn, Sarma says, "The total cost of this project is reported to be Rs 1,54,000 crore. 50% of this works out to Rs 77,000 crore." Stating that this creates the impression that the entire subsidy allocation for the semiconductor manufacturing sector would be appropriated by this company, Sarma says, "The Gujarat government did not lag behind in liberally announcing similar incentives for the Vedanta-Foxconn project. It offered 7

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

There aren't any hard data to prove forced conversion, why move for a Central law?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Srinivasan Jain, the popular TV anchor with NDTV, has done a tremendous service to the Constitution of India and, thereby, to the people of India! In a hard-hitting exposé on his weekly segment ‘Truth vs Hype’, released on 19 November, Jain talks about the so-called ‘Forced Conversions’ with incontrovertible facts and the falsehoods and myths that are built around the issue!   A good part of his expose is an interview with Ashwin Kumar Upadhyay, the petitioner in the current case on ‘forced conversions’ in the Supreme Court. Jain directly takes on Upadhyay and the 65-page petition submitted by the latter to the Supreme Court. Jain emphatically states that not a single example cited by Upadhyay in the petition comes under the ambit of ‘forced conversion’.  In fact, Jain proves that one of the examples is completely fake! Upadhyay, however, continues with his rant without being able to authenticate or substantiate or furnish a single bit of evidence to prove his

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Diminishing returns: Hydro projects contribute less than 10% of India's power generation

Counterview Desk  Pointing out that India’s hydro generation remains around 10% for the last six years, the advocacy group South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) has said that power generation from hydropower projects continues to show diminishing returns, as has been the story close to three decades now. Yet, says SANDRP in a note, the Government of India continues to push large hydro by announcing a slew of additional subsidies for hydropower projects, more for political economy reason. In fact, attempts are being made to flog unviable hydropower projects with various kind of manipulations, illegalities and violations, it adds. Text : In last six years, from 2016-17 to 2021-22, India’s large hydropower projects (projects above 25 MW installed capacity) have contributed just around 10% of the total power generation, going as low as 9.68% in 2017-18. In fact, in three of these six years, large hydro contributed less than 10% and recovering only marginally in the rest,

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.