SDG Index: Assam Ranked Lowest in Health; CM Sarma Criticized for ‘Misleading’
GUWAHATI: Assam has ranked in the bottom in NITI Aayog’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) report, said Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi as he criticized the chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of ‘lying’ to the people of the state.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, Gogoi said that Sarma has been contradicting despite the poor performance by the state government.
“There were clear cut contradictions with what the NITI Ayog report said and the CM’s claims. In the field of health, Assam has the lowest score of 59 among all states. It also dropped by 3 ranks from 25th to 28th place. The percentage of adolescents aged 10–19 years who are anaemic is 36.9, higher than India’s score. States like Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Himachal have much better scores. Assam also has the highest maternal mortality rate among all states with a score of 215, almost double of India’s score,” Gogoi cited the report.
On the other hand, Sarma claimed that Assam had progressed from being an Aspirant category in 2018 to Performer Category in 2020.
“Assam’s progress from 2019 to 2020 was barely 2 points (55 to 57), making it the slowest overall progress among all states. Assam’s overall rank in this recent survey also dropped from 23rd to 26th. This is clearly lying and misleading the public,” he alleged.
Earlier reacting on the report, the CM had said that there has been under reporting of data.
Gogoi replied, “The CM tried to justify Assam’s poor performance saying that the data was based on NFHS 4 and not recent NFHS survey 5. However, the justification does not hold because there is not much significant difference between NFHS 4 and the Phase 1 factsheet of NFHS 5. For example- Population (female) age 6 years and above who ever attended school in NFHS 4 was 75 and in NFHS 5 is 78.”
In the SDG report, Assam also ranked lowest, 28th, for women empowerment, i.e., gender parity and equality. The indicator of Gender parity is based on “access to healthcare, education, nutrition, employment and asset ownership.
Assam has ranked 24 out of 28 states in the education category, and its score has actually dropped this year from 44 to 43. Assam’s dropout rates in classes 9 and 10 are the second-highest among all states. It also has one of the lowest pupil-teacher ratios of 11 among all states and almost half of India’s score of 21.
Economically, Assam has a score lowest in the Northeast. Assam’s rank dropped from 17 in 2019 to 22 in 2020. In fact, States like Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, who were lower than Assam in 2019, have surpassed Assam in 2020, the MP added.