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By Sandeep Pattnaik

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Bhubaneswar, 9 Feb: The tall claims of the State Government fell flat, when it comes to providing basic amenities to the poor denizens. Odisha has seemingly been in backfoot in basic human development indicators, as the startling facts came out through a pre-budget survey made by Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD) for the year 2014-15.

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It is to be noted that, the findings has already been submitted by CYSD to the Finance Department, Govt of Odisha and to the Finance Minister of Odisha in January this year.

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The pre-budget CYSD study revealed that, in the Primary Health [PH] sector, the Doctor-Population ratio in Odisha stood at 1:9699 against the national average of 1:1800. Similarly, the bed-patient ratio in Odisha has remained 1:2500 against WHO’s (world Health Organization) stipulation of 1:1000. There is an urgent need of almost 4000 beds in Government hospitals. Whereas, the budget allocation under this head has been below Rs. 2 Cr since 2010-11 financial year including three components such as bedding, clothing and linen.

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Earlier 102 ambulances (this service is dedicated to Janani Suraksha Yojana and Janani-Sishu Suraksha Karyakram beneficiaries which includes pregnant women and sick neonates) were within the control of local medical officers which now been shifted to authorized agency at State level. As a result, there have been certain discrepancies reported in referral services of 102. Field level observations of CYSD from Sundergarh and Kaladandi show patients wait for hours and finally end up hiring private ambulance or vehicle to avail the service at nearby health institutions.

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Coming to Elementary Education, the situation is even precarious. Around 6000 elementary schools in Odisha are being run in single classroom. Almost 37.5% Upper primary schools in State are being run in single classroom (As per NUEPA in “State Elementary Education Report Card”).

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Surprisingly, there are 4000 elementary schools having single teacher in State. Around 40% Government schools (Primary and Upper Primary) were having less than 50% enrolled children, as the DISE report of NUEPA.

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The revised guideline for restructuring of ICDS (integrated Child Development Scheme) prescribes the increased responsibility of Anganwadi Workers [AWWs] for desired result in Pre-school education. However field level studies of CYSD show that most of the AWWs have not received any specific training on pre-school education other than their induction training. The AWWs is required to attend orientation programme on “Nua Arunima” through audio visual medium in monthly sector meeting. However, in remote areas, there is no facility available for audio visual presentation, which has resulted into the quality of pre-school education deteriorating in the state, according to the study.  Even there are 2906 Anganwadi Centers [AWCs] are running without AWWs.

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Adding to the above, more than 12000 Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) in State with tin roof and running in dilapidated condition. But there is no target based planning for providing 100% safe pucca building for all AWCs in State.

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As per the minutes of the Project Appraisal Board (PAB) for 2014-15 pertaining to Sarva SikshaAbhiyan (SSA), almost 10,000 elementary schools are still out of Mid-day-meal [MDM] provisioning in State.

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Despite the flagship schemes like the Kastuba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) is in place to provide residential school facilities at upper primary level to girls belonging to SC, ST, OBC and minority communities, it is surprise to be noted that, almost half of the allocation under KGBV remained unspent in 2013-14 as well as in 2014-15, the CYSD survey said.

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When the Union Govt is giving thrust on implementing the much touted National Food Security Act [NFSA], however, there is no prescribed income against the auto inclusion criteria of a household having a widow pension holder or a person with 40% disability under NFSA. Low income families, having a member with mental illness or non-contagious disease like cancer, heart ailments (which results in recurring heavy health expenditure for the household) are not auto included into the NFSA, according to the CYSD survey.

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According to a WHO report, the per capita intake of cereals is between 12 to 14 Kg per month, whereas, the food grain entitlement per person per month is five kg under Public Distribution System (PDS) by the State Government.

February 9, 2015 • No Comment