The Federal Government claimed Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) declined to 301 per one hundred thousand and said that six states continued to be worrisome but announced various incentives to encourage women to go for institutional delivery. Health Secretary P.K. Hota releasing the findings of a survey conducted by the Registrar General of India announced that the MMR “declined to 301 in 2001-03 as against 398 in 1997-98 and 327 in 1999-01.”
Uttar Pradesh (517), Assam (490), Rajasthan (445), Madhya Pradesh (379), Bihar (371), and Orissa (358) were identified as states where there continues to be an alarmingly high number of maternity deaths during childbirth ranging from 368 to 517. The best performing states were Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra , Haryana, and Gujarat . Hota says that the new Federal incentives to encourage pregnant women to use hospital services “will be given Rs 2,000 each” and also upping its incentive program for men and women to opt for sterilization.
However, the figure cited by the Health Ministry is a sleight of hand. By stating the Meta numbers, they conceal that one in five women die at giving birth. However, the retire Hota highlighted that even though the Meta numbers showed progress, “there is no substitute to women's education, increasing age of marriage and institutional delivery.” While it is not surprising to see Uttar Pradesh, Bihar , and Orissa on the worst performer list is not surprising, it is shocking that Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have such high numbers. Communist bastion West Bengal claiming to be erudite is another shocking revelation.