New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled Economic Survey 2023 in the Lok Sabha today (January 31) ahead of the Union Budget 2022 on February 1 (Wednesday). According to the annual Economic Survey, India’s economic growth is at 6-6.8% for the next fiscal year starting April 1, lower than the 7% projected for the current year. The Economic Survey said that despite this, India’s growth is still expected to be the fastest among major economies.
Here are the key highlights of the Economic Survey 2023 on areas like Healthcare, Nutrition, Swasth and Swachh Bharat, Climate Change and Environment:
- Health is an integral component of social welfare for the Government. Comprehensive and ‘Leave no one behind’ approach form the guiding principles of healthcare, as per the Economic Survey 2022-23.
2. The pre-budget survey notes that ensuring the provision of quality health facilities to citizens is an important priority for the Government. Towards this objective, many multidimensional initiatives like Mission Indradhanush, Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat, COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, Ayushman Digital Mission, have been launched and carried forward for better overall health of the citizens.
3. Under the National Health Mission, the Government has made concerted efforts to engage with all relevant sectors and stakeholders to move in the direction of achieving universal health coverage and delivering quality healthcare services to all at affordable cost.
4. The Economic Survey highlights that the Indian healthcare network is among the largest in the world. The results of an effective health approach are visible in the improvement in some of the important health-related indicators, as indicated in the latest edition of National Family Health Survey (NFHS):
a. Institutional births have increased from 78.9% in 2015-16 to 88.6% in 2019-2021
b. Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births) decreased from 29.5 in 2015-16 to 24.9 in 2019-2021
c. Infant mortality rate (per 1000 live births) also saw a decrease from 40.7 in NFHS 4 (2015-16) to 35.2 in NFHS 5
d. Under-five mortality rate (per 1000 live births) saw a decrease from 49.7 in NFHS 4 (2015-16) to 41.9 in NFHS 5
e. In terms of children vaccination, Children age 12-23 months who are fully vaccinated based on information from either vaccination card or mother’s recall saw an increase from 62.0% in 2016 to 76.4 in 2021
f. Children under 6 months of age who were exclusively breastfed also saw an increase from 54.9% in 2016 to 63.7% in 2021
g. In terms of malnutrition, Children under 5 years who are stunted (height-for-age) saw an improvement as the percentage of children falling in this bracket decreased – from 38.4% in NFHS-4 to 35.5% in NHFS-5. When it comes to children under 5 years who are wasted (weight-for-height), saw a decrease from 21.0% to 19.3% from NFHS-4 to NFHS-5 and in CASE OF underweight children under 5 years, saw a decrease from 35.8% to 32.1% was observed in the same period.
5. The survey noted that as per the Sample Registration System (SRS) data, India has successfully achieved the major milestone to bring the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) to below 100 per lakh live births by 2020 (laid down in National Health Policy 2017) by bringing it down to 97 per lakh live births in 2018-20 from 130 per lakh live births in 2014-16. It further stated that eight states have already achieved the SDG target to reduce MMR to less than 70 per lakh live births by 2030. These include Kerala (19), Maharashtra (33), Telangana (43) Andhra Pradesh (45), Tamil Nadu (54), Jharkhand (56), Gujarat (57), and Karnataka (69).
6. Economic Survey also noted that school dropout rates at all levels have witnessed a steady decline in recent years. The decline is for both girls and boys. The schemes such as Samagra Shiksha, Right to Education Act, improvement in school infrastructure and facilities, residential hostel buildings, availability of teachers, regular training of teachers, free textbooks, uniforms for children, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya and the PM Poshan Scheme play an important role in enhancing enrolment and retention of children in schools. The survey highlighted that the basic facilities in schools continued to improve in 2022 over earlier years like separate toilets for girls or boys, drinking water, and hand-washing facilities. Priority to drinking water and sanitation in schools under Samagra Shiksha Scheme as well as Swachh Bharat Mission have been instrumental in providing required resources and creating these assets in schools
7. This time, the Economic Survey also introduced the chapter on India’s social sector and climate change and environment. The survey noted that Social welfare is not an afterthought for the government but its leitmotif. The comprehensive and ‘leave no one behind’ approach form the guiding principles of healthcare.
8. The survey also mentions that climate change and the environment are not only hot-button issues globally but are critical to India realising its aspirations. It states that hence, India currently spearheads one of the most robust climate actions through its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which includes an ambitious programme for transitions to clean energy in the world and despite the adverse impacts of Covid-19 on the economy, the country has enhanced its climate ambition manifold.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.