Modi govt deliberately suppressing national survey carried out by Women and Child Development: Congress

New Delhi(PTI): Congress accused the Narendra Modi dispensation of deliberately suppressing a national survey which says that child immunisation levels in Gujarat were shockingly low and proportion of underweight children in the state worse than national average.

Targeting the Prime Minister over not releasing the survey, party leader Jairam Ramesh told reporters that it revealed that even poorer states like Bihar have done better in some areas than Gujarat. He said the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development had carried out the survey from November 2013 to May 2014 with technical assistance from UNICEF.

Over 105,483 households and 5600 anganwadi centres were covered in the survey. Noting that Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at that time, he said, the findings of the survey exposes his model of development which was much trumpeted during Lok Sabha polls.

The survey has been “deliberately suppressed” for the past 14 months as it showed that child immunisation levels in Gujarat were shockingly low and its proportion of hungry children and of stunting worse than national average, Ramesh said

He further added that the 56.2 per cent of the children aged 12-23 months who are fully immunised in Gujarat while in Bihar it is 60 per cent and the national average is around 65 per cent.

The proportion of children below the age of 5 years who are stunted is 42 per cent in Gujarat which is higher than the national average of around 40 per cent. The proportion of children below the age of 5 years who are underweight is 33.5 per cent in Gujarat as compared to the national average of 29 per cent.

Taking a dig at the Prime Minister over the “Swatchata Abhiyan”, he said, the survey showed 60 per cent of households in rural Gujarat continue to defecate in the open as compared to the national average of 61.5 per cent. He said that government has not released the results of the survey despite questions being raised in Parliament over the delay.

“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 said as far as Gujarat was concerned, its performance in the health and social sectors does not do full justice to its level of economic development and rate of economic growth.

Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka have performed far better than Gujarat in these sectors.

“The deliberate suppression of the survey conducted jointly with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and UNICEF goes against our long-established traditions of democracy and openness. It brings no credit whatsoever to us as a society where this is frank debate and discussion,” he added.