A cumulative total of 44,690,936 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (including 5,30,782 deaths) have been reported in India as on March 13, 2023, Bharati Pravin Pawar, minister of state in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, told the Lok Sabha. Some 44,156,345 people have recovered from the disease, Pawar added.
Budget allocation for health
The Union Budget 2023-24 has allocated Rs 86,175 crore for health, 3.83 per cent higher than the previous allocation of Rs 83,000 crore, Pawar told the Lok Sabha.
Women in Lok Sabha
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, 724 women contested the election, of which 78 were elected. The current Lok Sabha has 82 women members, Smriti Zubin Irani, minister of women and child development, told the Lok Sabha while responding to a question on the abysmally low representation of women.
The current ratio of women’s representation in Lok Sabha is 15.1 per cent. She claimed this is much higher than the 2014 polls in which only 68 women were elected to the Lok Sabha.
Similarly, in the Rajya Sabha, women’s representation stands at 33 as on March 16, 2023. In addition, in the present council of ministers, there are 11 women ministers. The government has endeavoured to make an enabling ecosystem in which women’s representation in all fields increases, she claimed.
From 2017-2021, Rs 11,600 crore was allocated for improving nutrition under the scheme POSHAN Abhiyaan. From 2021-22, the scheme is part of Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0. Mission. The mission has a total financial implication of approximately Rs 181,703 crore, Irani told the Lok Sabha.
The neonatal mortality rate at the national level has reduced from 24 per 1,000 live births in 2016 to 20 per 1,000 live births in 2020, Pawar told the Lok Sabha.
Malnutrition in children
Nutritional indicators for children under five years have improved compared to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4, conducted during 2015-2016.
Wasting has improved from 21 per cent (NFHS-4) to 19.3 per cent (NFHS-5). The number of under-weight children has improved from 35.7 per cent to 32.1 per cent and stunting has improved from 38.4 per cent to 35.5 per cent, Irani claimed in Lok Sabha. She cited data from NFHS-5 (2019-21).
Mystery disease in Bihar
A team of epidemiologists visited Tilha village in Bihar to investigate cases related to premature ageing and disability among the villagers, Pawar said, citing data provided by the state government. The team had not found such cases prevailing in the area, Pawar added.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.