26 February, 2007Countercurrents.org
Madhya Pradesh is the state in heart of India and is laden with major social developmental challenges. If India needs to achieve the millennium development goals states which fall in category of states with human development challenges like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkand need to reach them first. All of them lag behind.
Interestingly Madhya Pradesh had made a major proclamation in October 2006 when 3.3 million people in the state stood up against poverty by participating in campaign initiated by UN millennium development campaign. It did made it to record books too. Now news is in air that State’s Chief Minister may be traveling to United Nations (UN)head quarters and get acknowledged and recognized for the same achievement.
Though I am not sure whether that is an achievement or not? In fact it is an irony that just weeks after the same event which made it to record books findings of National family health survey (NFHS III) data a survey undertaken by Government of India was shared. The data revealed that under nutrition in children between 0 – 3 years had increased from 54% to 60 %. This means that majority of children in Madhya Pradesh are malnourished. Though state denied data of its own Central Government and had quoted less figures which still meant that every second child in the state is malnourished. Though Non governmental organizations which are working in the state, agree with the findings of the NFHS III data. State’s own data base also reveals one another fact largely not talked about open that about 100,000 children are severely malnourished meaning can die if medical care is not provided to them.
Think of it if internationally in any country one knows that one lakh children need help, it becomes a major issue which can topple governments while here state is making to record books – for making proclamation just by standing, a question which has difficult answers. Recently an enquiry set up by Commissioners appointed by Supreme court of India had called state’s Sheopur district as world’s hot spots of malnourishment. State also has highest rate of infant mortality rates in the country and has six states in India which have highest maternal mortality ratio. It is not only in these indicators one happens to read in media about hunger deaths which get reported in the state. All these are part of millennium development goals. Even in case of poverty elimination for which the state made great announcements we are way behind and neither since that proclamation state has taken any concrete step which reflects actions. It also may be important to mention that state also heads in crime against children and new NFHS III data also reveal that 45 % of women in the state have ever heard of HIV/AIDS, which is also part of one the goals. In this scenario probably United Nations may need to pressurize state’s political heads to deliver against goals agreed by the country, or else it may take them another hundred years to reach the goals targeted for 2015, rather then acknowledging them.
Loveleen is a free lancer writer based in Bhopal and contributes by writing on social issues.