Bhubaneswar: In a stark contrast to State government’s tall claims of facilitating the poor and underprivileged with numerous social-welfare schemes, Odisha still remains as one known for poverty, if indication in Annual Health Survey (AHS) report is anything to go by.
According to the AHS, The Clinical, Anthropometric and Biochemical (CAB), survey conducted by the Registrar General of India, Odisha has the highest prevalence of undernourishment among males (five to 18 years age group) at 36.1%. The report said Rajasthan and Bihar account for maximum cases of undernourishment at 33.8 % and 33.7 % respectively.
Uttarakhand showed the least prevalence at 21.8 per cent, figures in the report showed.
For undernourished female in the same age group, Odisha (32.2%) occupies the third slot after Bihar (33%) and Rajasthan (32.5%).
The state of elderly people so far as the body mass index (BMI) is concerned is no better in Odisha.
It said, among elderly population (aged 60 years and above) the percentage of underweight population with BMI less than 18.5 is the highest in Odisha (37.6 per cent) and lowest in Uttarakhand (23.4 per cent).
Uttarakhand, which has placed itself in least prevalence of undernourished cases in a list of 100 districts, records highest (21.6 per cent) in overweight population with BMI greater than or equal to 25 in 18-59 age groups. Chhattisgarh recorded the lowest at (6.3 per cent), the report noted.
Among females aged 18-59 years, Odisha shows the highest underweight prevalence at 30.3 per cent while Chhattisgarh shows the lowest at 18.5 per cent.
It raises a question mark on whether benefits of social welfare schemes meant for the poor and deprived reach to the beneficiaries. As the survey indicates, the ground situation remains grim, be it Dana Majhi’s case in Kalahandi or the malnutrition deaths in Nagada in industrially-rich Jajpur district.
The State government however said it has chalked out a plan to overcome the situation.
“Undernourishment is linked to several factors. So we have asked departments including Women and Child Development, School and Mass Education, Sc/ST Development, Health and Family Welfare and Rural Development to work in tandem to eradicate hunger and prevent malnutrition. We will review the situation on a periodical basis to achieve goal of complete poverty eradication”, Women and Child Development secretary Vishal Dev said.