Indian minister is happy that they reduced mother and child mortality but CAG reports say something else

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar briefs the media on cabinet decisions, in New Delhi.Photo/Subhav Shukla) (

  • India is going to fulfill the sustainable development goals before 2030.
  • The government claims to have reduced maternal and infant mortality rates, and under-five mortality rate, said the minister without giving any figures.
  • However, some of Javedkar’s claims conflict with one of a report released by the Indian government earlier this year.
  • In July 2019, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India released a report highlighting the gaps in achieving the key objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar today said that India will achieve its health-related sustainability goals well in advance.

“We are happy to announce that the goals set for 2030 will be achieved much earlier,” said the minister. The goal is to keep maternal mortality rate to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births. As per the target, under- 5 mortality should go down to 25 deaths per 1000 live births, according to the UN. And infant mortality rate should go down to zero by 2030.

A release by Press Information Bureau also said that mortality of infants, mothers and children under-five is declining. “At the current rate of decline, India should able to reach its SDG target (MMR-70, U5MR-25) much before the due year i.e. 2030,” said the release.

These claims come two months after Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) raised doubts that India may fall short in health-related sustainable goals. This is primarily due to inadequate spending on primary healthcare infrastructure. It also cited lack of data to track the progress of SDG as one of the reasons.

According to the Census in 2017, as many as 130 women died per 100,000 live births. Infant mortality and under-five mortality rate was at 33 and 39 deaths per 1,000 live births.

As per CAG, spending on healthcare itself is lower than what is budgeted for. It pointed out a massive gap in proposed budget and allocated budget into sprucing up India’s healthcare. The National Health Mission was allocation 13.6% less in 2018-19 than the proposed budget, reported India spend.

The states are not spending enough either. As per National Health Policy 2017’s recommendations, states should spend 8% of their budgets by 2020. As many as seven states spent anywhere between 3.29% and 5.32% between 2012-2017.

Overall, India spends a mere 1.2% of its GDP on healthcare. It ranks lower than Singapore, which itself is known for its low spending on public health.
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