New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday alleged that the Modi government has deliberately suppressed the the results of a survey which revealed that child immunisation levels in Gujarat are shockingly lower than the national average, and that child malnutrition had come down during the previous UPA government’s tenure.
“The results of the survey, jointly conducted by the ministry of women and child development and Unicef, have been deliberately suppressed because they reveal that child malnutrition as measured by body weight and height has come down during the ten years of the UPA government from 42.5 percent to 30 percent,” former union minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said here at a press conference.
“Child immunisation levels in Gujarat are shockingly low, proportion of hungry children and of stunting worse than national average,” he added.
According to Ramesh, the survey was carried out in 29 states and Gujarat ranks 21 among them.
“That is why the government is hiding this survey. In Bihar, 60 percent children are immunised, better than ‘Modi model’ of Gujarat. Fourteen months have passed but the government has not made public the Unicef survey on child health,” Ramesh said.
Ramesh claimed that child malnutrition is still unacceptably high in India but it has come down significantly because of social sector programmes like ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme), mid-day meal scheme and Janani Suraksha Yojana that were given the highest priority by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
He alleged that these are the programmes for which the allocations have been drastically reduced in the 2015-16 budget by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
“The allocation for ICDS, for instance, has been slashed from over Rs.18,000 crore to just about Rs.8,000 crore and for the mid-day meal scheme from over Rs.3,000 crore to under Rs.1,200 crore,” he said.
Ramesh stated: “The deliberate suppression of the survey goes against our long-established traditions of democracy and openness.”
“It is, however, perfectly understandable that the prime minister has kept the survey under wraps because it shows his predecessor in good light and raises several question marks on his own much-touted record as chief minister of Gujarat,” he added.