Editorial

Telangana beats BJP-ruled States in controlling maternal mortality

After the Niti Aayog and the Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs among other Central agencies, now the Reserve Bank of India too has made a note of Telangana‘s success in bringing down the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) from 81 per lakh live births in 2014-15 to 56 against the national average of 103 in 2022.

What, however, stands out is how the country’s youngest State, the constant target of accusations and allegations by the Bharatiya Janata Party, has surpassed other States, especially BJP-ruled States including Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s Gujarat.

Though Modi had promoted Gujarat’s healthcare system symbolically with the slogan ‘Healthy Gujarat to set it as role model, The alleged prosperous Gujarat’ during his tenure as Chief Minister, the State has failed to bring down maternal deaths despite the BJP being in power for over two decades.

Telangana, on the other hand is ranked third after Kerala and Maharashtra for the lowest maternal deaths in the country since the last three years. Interestingly, Gujarat’s MMR was much higher during Narendra Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister than the present 70 per 1 lakh live births. During 2011-13 the MMR of Gujarat stood at 112(one of the highest in the country), despite tall claims made by Modi with regard to the healthcare system.

The RBI, in the latest edition of its Handbook of Statistics on Indian States, records the steady decline in MMR in Telangana in the last eight years under the TRS rule. On the other hand, though the Narendra Modi government has completed nine years in power it was not able to do much to bring down MMR in the country.

The MMR in 448 of India’s 640 districts is higher than the target set under UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The MMR under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030 is 70, whereas India’s current MMR is 103.

According to the RBI data, the MMR is between 100 and 150 in five states Uttarakhand (101), West Bengal (109), Punjab (114), Bihar (130), Odisha (136), and Rajasthan (141), while MMR is above 150 in four states -Chhattisgarh (160), Madhya Pradesh (163), Uttar Pradesh (167), and Assam (205).

At the same time, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh have seen MMR decline of more than 15 percent, while Telangana, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Bihar, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh have seen declines of 10-15 percent.

The Telangana government has been providing nutritious food to pregnant and mother-to-newborn through 35,700 Anganwadi centres from January 2015 under Arogya Lakshmi Scheme. As many as 4.72 lakh women and 17.63 children under age six are benefitted through the scheme so far.