Special campaign to sensitize people on importance of mother-child health : Jai Ram Thakur

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while addressing the workshop on ‘Poshan and Cooperative Federalism’ organized by NITI Aayog and Government of Himachal Pradesh said that a special campaign would be launched in the State to sensitize the people about the importance of mother-child health as this was vital for a healthy society and prosperous Himachal Pradesh.

Chief Minister said that greater awareness must be created at the grass-root level so that nutrition and Poshan could be made a mass movement. He said that the State Government has completed   training of Anganwari Workers and now 18,925 Anganwari and  5,99,643 beneficiaries are being registered  on nutrition tracker.  For the management of severely malnourished and moderately malnourished children, a standard operating procedure has been prepared in coordination with the H.P. National Health Mission and Women and Child Development, he added.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the State government was committed to make Himachal Pradesh a most favoured tourist destination. He said that nature has blessed the State with immense natural potential, but connectivity remains a biggest challenge. He said that the 15th Finance Commission has made State specific recommendations for Himachal Pradesh which includes Rs. 400 crore for expansion and upgradation of Kangra Airport, Rs. 1,000 crore for construction of Greenfield Airport in Mandi district, Rs. 20 crore for improvement of water supply and sewerage facilities of Jawalamukhi temple. He said that since Himachal Pradesh was a revenue deficit State and does not have resources for investment in these infrastructure projects, liberal assistance was required to achieve the desired results.

Chief Minister said that regarding Railway connectivity, the land acquisition cost was a biggest challenge. He also felt the need to compensate the State in this matter so that rail network could be strengthened in the State. He said that the State Government has framed its own Electric Vehicle policy, to promote sustainable transport system for making Himachal Pradesh a global hub for electric mobility development and manufacturing of electric vehicles and to create public and private charging infrastructure for electric vehicles besides providing subsidy and incentives to the electric vehicles manufacturing industries. He said that the State was spending a major chunk of its budget allocation on social services sector. He said that stress was being laid of food and fruit processing to ensure better price of their produce to the farmers and horticulturists. 

Jai Ram Thakur said that in view of the federal structure of India, the role of NITI Aayog has been important in ensuring better coordination between the states and the Centre.  He thanked the NITI Aayog for approving the proposals for external assistance sent by the State Government to the Central Government, with positive comments in a very short time.  He said that despite being a small state, it has achieved target of cent percent vaccination of targeted eligible population despite geographical constraints. He said that State would also pioneer in the country by achieving the target of better nutrition of mother and child. 

Chief Minister said that the Government was determined to use Information Technology to usher in the era of e-governance aimed at simplifying processes, bringing in transparency, accountability, providing need based, quality and timely information to all the citizens of the State. He said that to achieve this goal, the government has implemented/or in the process of implementation of several e-governance initiatives in various Departments of the State. The welfare of the common people of the State has always remained the primary focus of the State Government and the State efforts were also recognized by the public Affairs Centre, Bengaluru and awarded the State with first prize for the year 2017 and 2018 and second prize for the year 2019 for Good Governance among the segment of small and hilly State, he added.

Jai Ram Thakur said that in this workshop organized by NITI Aayog, would prove handy in debating the issues related to nutrition and health, besides other issues pending with various Central ministries. He expressed hope that Dr. V.K. Paul and his team would do everything possible to resolve these issues at the earliest.  

Chief Minister gave away prizes to the respective Deputy Commissioners under Good Governance Index on the occasion. Hamirpur district was awarded first prize, whereas Bilaspur district stood second and Kullu district third under Good Governance Index. The report on District Good Governance Index has been prepared by Department of Economics and Statistics, Government of Himachal Pradesh on the basis of secondary data of 12 districts, collected on broad 7 Themes, 19 focus subjects and 75 indicators to assess the comparative performance of all districts Himachal Pradesh is the first State in the country who has started to measure the quality of governance in vital sectors.

Chief Minister also released updated version of ‘Handbook on Personnel Matters-2021’.

Member NITI Aayog Dr. V.K. Paul made a detailed presentation on ‘Achieving Aspirational Nutrition Outcome in Himachal Pradesh’. He also appreciated the State of Himachal Pradesh for achieving the target of cent percent vaccination of targeted eligible age group. He said that Himachal Pradesh was much better than most of the other States of the country, but still lot more needed to be done. He said that doubling of Iron Folic Acid by pregnant women due to the efforts of the State Government has resulted in better anaemic scenario in the State. He also appreciated the State Government for its achievement in Matri Vandana Yojna. He said that the State has progressed well in health and education, but anaemia problem remains a matter of concern. He also felt the need for launch special campaign on Low Birth Weight infants, aim at zero diarrhoea deaths with ORS, Zinc by 2024. He said that ‘Jan Andolan for Poorak Ahaar’ and intensify ‘Anaemia Mukt Himachal’ mission was need of the hour. He also felt the need to make State TB free by 2023-24. He said that the positivity rate of about 2 regarding Covid-19 requires a strict vigil at the district and lower level. 

Additional Secretary NITI Aayog Dr. Rakesh Sarwal made a presentation on the occasion regarding various social indicators in the country and Himachal Pradesh. 

Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh said that the State Government would ensure effective implementation of the suggestions and recommendations given by the member of NITI Aayog. He said that the State would definitely achieve the target of healthy and happy Himachal. He also assured the Chief Minister and NITI Aayog for ensuring effective steps to achieve the recommendations of the NITI Aayog. 

Additional Chief Secretary Finance Prabodh Saxena while welcoming the Chief Minister said that State Government in its budget has stated that the government would conduct a study and prepare an Action Plan based on it to tackle the problem of malnutrition amongst the children. 

Fellow NITI Aayog Arvind Mehta,  Additional Chief Secretaries Sanjay Gupta, R.D. Dhiman and J.C. Sharma, Principal Secretaries, Secretaries, Heads of Departments,    representatives of NITI Aayog Sudendhu Jyoti Sinha, Dr. Neena Bhatia, Hemant Meena and representatives of UNICEF and SAS, CHRD and other officers attended the meeting.

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