Free Press Journal

UPA withheld UNICEF child health report: Maneka Gandhi


Maneka Gandhi,

New Delhi, Jul 9 (PTI) Holding the erstwhile UPA government responsible for the partial release of the UNICEF report on immunisation cover in the country, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has said the data was submitted to the Ministry long back but was withheld by Congress as almost every state had objected to it.

“The report has been stopped since the time of (the) Congress government. It was submitted before we came into power. It is (being) uselessly dragged into controversy now. Why would we want to hide any report… We get thousands of them every year,” Gandhi told PTI.

The minister said that the report was held since the time when Congress leader Krishna Tirath was the Minister for Women and Child Development as many states, and not only Gujarat, contested the findings.

“It is not just about Gujarat. There are good and bad indicators for every state. And almost all of them have objections to it,” she said. Gandhi also said that objections have come in against the survey from various ministries as well. “The matter was raised in the first Parliament session after we came to power. We wanted to release it then itself but later realised that ministries themselves don’t want it,” she said.

The survey suggests discrepancies among states in the delivery of immunisation programme. “It only gives indicators. What is so big thing about it… It will help us improve in future and a better planning,” Gandhi said.

The Ministry to whom the UN agency submitted the data in 2013 has now constituted a committee to examine the parameters of the report. The Rapid Survey of Children (RSOC) was done on the request of the ministry during 2012-13.

While the national level findings were released by the government for it suggested an overall improvement in the vaccination programme, the state-level results did not go down well with the authorities as it indicated a dip in the immunisation cover and has been kept under wraps.