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CHANGE ON THE GROUND

India Registers Significant Decline in Child Mortality Rate

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Rate of decline has doubled over last year

Big boost to ‘Mission Indradhanush’

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda, expressed happiness over the just-released SRS bulletin (2016) as India registered a significant decline in under-five child mortality.

According to the bulletin, under-five child mortality (U5MR) of India showed an impressive decline by 9%, a 4 points decline from 43 per 1000 in 2015 to 39 in 2016.

The rate of decline has doubled over the last year. Not only this, number of under-five deaths for the first time in the country have come down to below 1 million with nearly 120,000 fewer under-five deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015.

Most of the states have shown good progress in reduction of under-five child mortality from the previous year, except Chattisgarh, Delhi and Uttarakhand, which have shown a slight increase over the previous year and Telangana, which has shown no change in 2016.

Congratulating all those associated with this remarkable feat,  Shri Nadda stated that the results signify that the strategic approach of the Government is yielding dividends and the efforts of focusing on low performing states are paying off. He stated that India with the current rate of decline of U5MR is on track to meet the SDG target for under-five child mortality of 25 by 2030.

The Health Minister further said that under the visionary leadership and guidance of the Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, the government is committed to advancing the agenda of Universal Health Coverage in the country and its initiatives like Mission Indradhanush and Intensified Mission Indradhanush, with their focused approach, is significantly turning the tide in favour of India.

Shri Nadda said that these remarkable achievements in merely one year are the result of countrywide efforts to increase the health service coverage through various initiatives of the Government that include strengthening of service delivery; quality assurance; RMNCH+A interventions; strengthening human resources and community processes; information and knowledge; drugs and diagnostics, and supply chain management, etc.

According to the SRS Bulletin, the gender gap in India for child survival is reducing steadily; the gender difference between female and male under-five mortality rates has now reduced to 11% which was as high as 17% in 2014.

The current under-five mortality for the male child is 37 per 1000, while for the female child is 41 per 1000 live births.

Amongst the bigger states, seven states (Chattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, MP, Odisha, Tamil Nadu Telangana) have reversed the gender gap in the survival of the female child, while four of these have reversed the gender gap for under-five survival. These are Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Telangana, West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab and Delhi have depicted less than 5% gap in mortality of female child and are within striking distance to reverse the gender gap. The maximum gender gap in the survival of under-five for the female child is in Bihar (46% higher mortality for the female child), followed by Haryana (23%), Kerala (20%), Assam, Karnataka (19%) and Rajasthan (17%).

Further, the SRS Bulletin also shows that the neonatal mortality rate has reduced by 1 point from 25 per 1000 live births to 24 per 1000.

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CHANGE ON THE GROUND

Jaipur’s Gandhi Nagar Becomes India’s First All-Women Main Line Railway Statione

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Gandhi Nagar of Jaipur became country’s first all-women railway station in the Main Line category of the Indian Railways on February 19. Gandhi Nagar railway station has a footfall of nearly 7,000 passengers per day and of the 50 trains which pass by, 25 trains halt here.

From station master Angella Stella, ticket collector Vandana Sharma to virtually every single post including station superintendent, head ticket collector, point woman, RPF constable, station master, ticket reservation clerk and enquiry clerk has a woman employee at the Gandhi Nagar station are women.

They looked visibly happy in the glory of being on duty at the country’s first all-women railway station and were congratulated by TP Singh, general manager, NWR on the inaugural function on Monday afternoon.

Singh told the media that Gandhi Nagar is now first all-women railway station in the Main Line category of the Indian railways. “Matunga railway station of Mumbai is also managed by women and it is in the sub-urban category while our station is first in the Main Line category,” he added.

Station Master Angela Stella, who completed one year in the Indian railways was excited and happy with the new responsibility. “I have never thought I would be handling a station which would be all-women within one year of my job. I will abide by all the safety norms and apply standard operating practice while working,” Stella said.

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India’s Forest and Tree Cover Rises by Over 8,000 Sq Km

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Photo: PIB

The latest India State of Forest Report released on Monday says India has now come to occupy the 10th spot in the world where expansion of forest and tree cover is concerned.

Compared to 2015, India has increased its forest and tree cover by 8,021 square kilometres.

The green credentials of the country have risen in a commendable manner.

The India State of Forest Report 2017 has reported an increasing trend in the forest and tree cover, in comparison to the global trend of decreasing forest cover during the last decade.

Now, India ranks among the top ten countries in the world in terms of forest area.

The report states that there is an increase of 8, 021 sq km in the total forest and tree cover of the country, compared to the previous assessment in 2015.

Much of the increase in the forest cover has been observed in Very Dense Forest which is an encouraging sign as the Very Dense Forest absorbs maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

With an impressive statistic of 2141 sq km, Andhra Pradesh tops the list of states that have shown the maximum increase in forest cover.

Karnataka is second after adding 1101 sq km while another southern state of Kerala came in close third after adding 1043 sq km to the forest cover.

Odisha is at fourth place with adding 885 sq km while Telangana grabs the fifth position with 565 sq km of increase in forest area.

While the states where forest cover has decreased are Mizoram (531 sq km), Nagaland (450 sq km), Arunachal Pradesh (190 sq km), Tripura (164 sq km) and Meghalaya (116 sq km).

In the North Eastern region, the total forest cover is very high i.e. more than 70% in each state.

Madhya Pradesh remains the state with the largest forest cover of 77,414 sq km, followed by Arunachal Pradesh with 66,964 sq km and Chhattisgarh with 55,547 sq km.

Forests play a vital role in water conservation and improve the water regime in the area.

As per the latest assessment, water bodies inside forest cover have increased by 2,647 sq kms during the last decade. Mangrove forests have increased by 181 sq km.

Mangrove ecosystems are rich in biodiversity and play a major role in protecting coastal areas from erosion, tidal storms and Tsunamis.

India is striving towards achieving its goal of creating additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3.0 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030

The information given in the report will serve as an important tool to monitor the country’s forest resources and plan suitable scientific and policy interventions for its management.

The India State of Forest Report 2017 is 15th such report in the series.

Forest Survey of India has been assessing the forest and tree resources of our country on a biennial basis since 1987.

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India’s Rivers are Being Cleaned up by These Newly Designed Boats

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