Skip to main content

Modi's Gujarat "laggard" in fight against malnutrition, says The Economist quoting unpublished Unicef report

By Our Representative
A week after top British weekly The Economist quoted an unreleased United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) report to say that Gujarat slipped to 21st position in child immunization, it has further revealed from it that states ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP appear to be “laggards” in the fight against malnutrition “compared with several states that are (or were) under the control of rivals.”
Pointing out that “this may be coincidental but true for the last one decade”, The Economist (July 4) quotes from the same report, Rapid Survey on Children (RSOC) again, by again offering the “most sensitive example” of Gujarat, which, it says, “Modi has touted as a model because incomes there are high”, comparing with Maharashtra, ruled by Congress till recently.
The Economist says, “The RSOC shows that the proportion of hungry children in Gujarat fell from 44.6% to 33.5%”, but that remains worse than the national average of “less than 30%.” On the other hand, it adds, “Maharashtra next door has similar incomes and has fared much better.”
Identifying Maharashtra as “a wealthy state on the western coast”, The Economist says, its case is “revealing”, as “its proportion of children there who are underweight fell from 37% to 25%.”
The influential weekly says, “Gujarat is also worse than average for stunting (42%), severe stunting (18.5%) and wasting (18.7%). Nearly two-fifths of its population defecate out of doors.”
As against the poor show of Gujarat, The Economist refers to Maharashtra as a “good example” of how to deal with malnutrition. The weekly says, it identified “four crucial changes there: better and more frequent feeding of infants, more care for pregnant women, higher household incomes and a rise in the age at which women begin having babies.”
It adds, “Officials and politicians in Maharashtra played a crucial role by helping to target worst-afflicted groups such as tribal people known as adivasis.”
Accusing the Government of India for “sitting on the report for months, though it has been ready since at least October”, The Economist says, “One rumour suggests official concern about the quality of the data, but UNICEF has voiced no such worry. Another possible reason is the pride of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, who ruled Gujarat for a dozen years.”
After stating this, The Economist declares, “The new data indicate his relatively prosperous state performed worse than many poorer ones.”
Recalling Modi indifference towards malnutrition in Gujarat, the weekly says, “Asked about child malnutrition in Gujarat in 2012, Modi told the Wall Street Journal that it was a middle-class, vegetarian state, and that: ‘The middle class is more beauty conscious than health conscious...If a mother tells her daughter to have milk, they’ll have a fight. She’ll tell her mother, ‘I won’t drink milk. I’ll get fat’.”
It comments, “Some found that answer about as satisfying as a cardboard biryani. Amartya Sen, an economist and Nobel laureate, says Modi does not provide strong leadership on health policy. He notes that spending on health care fell in this year’s national budget. India devotes barely 1% of GDP to it, far behind China, for example.”
The RSOC survey involved 210,000 interviews across 29 states and territories in 2013 and 2014; more than 90,000 children were measured and weighed, as well as 28,000 teenage girls.

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Across the board, among Muslims, Hindus, there's enormous fury at Delhi Police: Report

Counterview Desk
A quick report, prepared by Delhi's concerned citizens, "Let Us Heal Our Dilli", based on one-day visit (February 27) to several areas and mohallas of North East Delhi affected by the riots that gripped the country's capital -- Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Chaman Park, Shiv Vihar, Main Mustafabad (including Bhagirathi Vihar and Brijpuri) -- has said everywhere there is "zero trust" towards that the police.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.