perjantai 6. heinäkuuta 2012

Benefits of development are not reaching everybody in Gujarat

Gujarat is often mentioned as one of the most developed states of India. Or at least that’s how Gujarat’s BJP government and its Chief Minister Narendra Modi want to frame the status of the state with one of the most prominent growth rates in India. 

However, according to a local newspaper (Ahmedabad Mirror/ May 12, 2012) 32 percent of the children in Gujarat are malnourished. This figure was released by the state Women and Child Development Department but the Human Development Report India 2011 claims the figure of malnourished children to be nearly 45 percent. That is a lot. These figures put into question Gujarat’s claims of being the most developed in the country. Benefits do not seem to have reached everybody.

The problem of malnourishment seems to be most prevalent in the adivasi districts of Gujarat. The highest figure of 5.4 percent of children severely malnourished is found in Narmada district (according to the state Women and Child Development department).  Districts like Dahod and Vadodara are also among those with high proportion of malnourished children. 

Also, a while ago Indian Express (May 26, 2012) published an article stating that the benefits of building a contested Narmada dam have not been flowing to the adivasi population of the nearby area. The villages near the dam still lack the promised drinking and irrigation water facilities. The government gives lack of electricity as the reason for not failing to provide water from Narmada canal to all the 93 villages included in government’s water supply scheme. So far only 18 villages have availed the promised water. It seems a little bit strange that the well-known electricity problem was not taken into account when planning the project. It is not the first time though when the benefits of building a dam are not evenly distributed…

According to Ahmedabad Mirror Gujarat state government is working with National Institute of Health to conduct a survey on malnourished children. The institute will also find out of the problem of malnourishment is genetic…  

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