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Rae Bareli Vs Gujarat Model of Development
Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh has been a Nehru - Gandhi family bastion since 1967 when Indira Gandhi first stood for election from there. Sonia Gandhi adopted the constituency in 2004 and was re-elected with a huge majority in 2009. It should therefore be one of India’s most developed districts.

Rae Bareli is a sprawling district spread over 4,608 sq km with a population of 34.04 lakhs. The HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) survey, released by the prime minister in 2012, was carried out amongst children under the age of five in 112 rural districts across 3,360 villages in nine states. How does Rae Bareli fare? Poorly – even by the abysmal standards of the other 111 districts surveyed.

According to the report, coordinated by the Naandi Foundation and reviewed among others by economists Dr. Abhijeet Banerjee and Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia, “Rae Bareli with 70.40%, Koraput in Orissa with 68.86% and Dumka in Jharkhand with 63.65% have the highest number of stunted children.” This picture of poverty, hunger, chronic malnutrition and lack of basic amenities like toilets is common across the district.

If a constituency nurtured by the Nehru - Gandhi family for decades and decades can be in such a bad shape, than it says a lot about political governance? Nehru - Gandhi Dynasty has not been able to develop a population of 34 Lakhs in approximately 5 decades.

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh released the HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) Report-2011 in New Delhi, where he had said: “There are nearly 16 crore children in the country below the age of 6 years. In the years to come, these children will join our work-force as scientists, as farmers, as teachers, as data operators, as artisans, as service providers. Several of them will become social workers like many of you in this hall. The health of our economy and society lies in the health of this generation. We cannot hope for a healthy future for our country with a large number of malnourished children.

I have said earlier on a number of occasions and I repeat that the problem of malnutrition is a matter of national shame. Despite impressive growth in our GDP, the level of under-nutrition in the country is unacceptably high. We have also not succeeded in reducing this rate fast enough.

…Though the ICDS continues to be our most important tool to fight malnutrition, we can no longer rely solely on it. We need to focus on districts where malnutrition levels are high and where conditions causing malnutrition prevail. Policy makers and programme implementers need to clearly understand many linkages -- between education and health, between sanitation and hygiene, between drinking water and nutrition – and then shape their responses accordingly.”

Dr Manmohan Singh led UPA couldn’t move beyond speeches. While, the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP solved these problems in Gujarat with aplomb. And I will just quote Central Government reports to convey my argument, which are:

  • In Gujarat, anganwadi workers of every test checked anganwadi center were trained for analysis of growth chart. Growth charts in all test checked anganwadi centers were maintained by the anganwadi workers.

Chapter 6, Supplementary Nutrition,Report no.-22 of 2012-13-Union Government (Ministry of W&CD) -- Report of the CAG on Performance Audit of ICDS Scheme

  • In all test checked anganwadi centers of Gujarat 80 gm RTE energy foods were introduced as part of RDA. In Gujarat green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, seasonal fruits, milk and egg were incorporated in the supplementary nutrition in the entire test checked anganwadi centers.

Chapter 6, Supplementary Nutrition,Report no.-22 of 2012-13-Union Government (Ministry of W&CD) -- Report of the CAG on Performance Audit of ICDS Scheme

  • The revised norms effective from February 2009, inter allia, included serving of more than one meal to the children of the age group three to six years at the anganwadi centers that included morning snacks and hot cooked food since children of this age group might not be able to consume 500 calories in one sitting. Further ready to eat micronutrient fortified food was mainly provided to the beneficiaries in places of hot cooked food. The children only in the age group of six to three years were to be provided supplementary nutrition in the form of Take home ration. Test check revealed that the revised norms were implemented only in the Gujarat.

Chapter 6, Supplementary Nutrition,Report no.-22 of 2012-13-Union Government (Ministry of W&CD) -- Report of the CAG on Performance Audit of ICDS Scheme

  • In Gujarat drinking water was available at all anganwadi centers.

Chapter 5, Human Resource and Training Report no.-22 of 2012-13-Union Government (Ministry of W&CD) -- Report of the CAG on Performance Audit of ICDS Scheme

ICDS Scheme is implemented through Anganwadi Centers.

In sum Gujarat State Government is incurring an additional expenditure to the tune of Rs. 212 crores on providing extra nutritional benefits from the state budget to all target beneficiaries i.e. all 6 months to 3 years children, adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating mothers in order to combat the problem of high prevailing under nutrition among children and for emphasized focus on improving the nutritional status of women and children.

The above is just an example of many of the schemes and success model of Gujarat Government. So those who keep asking for Gujarat Model from TV Screens, Newspaper Columns and High Stages in Rallies should come down on ground; then and then only they will be able to understand and appreciate the Narendra Modi Model of Development.

(Mr. Sandeep Singh can be reached at www.swastik.net.in)


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