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States struggling to control poverty, hunger

NEW DELHI:  A Niti Aayog report on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) has thrown up some worrying details. It shows that the states are struggling to control ‘poverty’ and ‘hunger’. A total of 20 states and three Union Territories (UTs) have scored less than 50 (out of 100) in the Zero Hunger category. These states include Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Gujarat.When it comes to poverty, 14 states and three UTs fell behind scoring even 50 points in the ‘No Poverty’ category.

The report, released last week, cited the national nutrition survey to highlight the extent of malnourishment among children in the country. It said that 34.7 per cent of children under the age of five are categorised as stunted in India and the aim is to reduce this to 2.5 per cent by 2030, which is the corresponding average stunting rate in high-income countries as of 2017.

The lowest rates are in Goa (19.6 per cent), Tamil Nadu (19.7 per cent) and Kerala (20.5 per cent). The highest percentage (42 per cent) of stunted children, under five years of age, is from Bihar.It also said that almost half of pregnant women, aged between 15 and 49 years, are anaemic. The WHO targets a 50 per cent reduction of anaemia in women of reproductive age by 2025. Thus, the target for 2025 for the nation has been set at 25.15 per cent. Kerala (22.6 per cent) and Sikkim (23.6 per cent) are the only states in India to have reduced this rate to below the target.

It also noted that 33.4 per cent of children aged are underweight in India. The target is to reduce this to 0.9 per cent by 2030 which is the prevalence rate of underweight among children (percentage of children under 5 years) in high-income countries in 2017. Sikkim is the best-performing state at 11 per cent followed by Mizoram at 11.30 per cent. Jharkhand is at the bottom of the table at 42.9 per cent followed by Chhattisgarh at 40 per cent.

When it comes to agricultural productivity, India currently produces 2,516.67 kg of produces such as rice, wheat, and coarse cereals from one Ha of land annually. The target is to double this by 2030 to 5,033.34 kg/ Ha. The report also underlines the lower health insurance coverage in the country as only 28.7 per cent of households have at least one member covered under a health insurance or health care scheme. The national target is to cover all households in India by 2030. No state or UT has achieved this target, yet. Andhra Pradesh at 74.6 per cent has the highest coverage in the country, said the report.

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