Gender equality with good health and well being

 As you are aware, Government of India has been observing 29th June every year since 2007, to mark the birth anniversary of late professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanabis as ‘Statistics Day’, in recognition of his valuable contribution in the field of economic planning and statistics. Celebrating Statistics Day is also aimed at creating public awareness, especially among the younger generation, on the role and importance of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation for development of the country.

29th June, 2020 is 14th in series of celebrating Statistics Day by India. Every year statistic day is being celebrated on a particular theme. This year the theme of the Statistics Day has been chosen as “Ensure healthy lives and promote Wellbeing for all at all ages of SDG3 and Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls of SDG5”.  

The main objective of celebrating the Statistics Day every year is to create public awareness particularly among the younger generation regarding Statistics and its role. The awareness among population of SDG3 and SDG5 which are the two important goals of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nation (UN) to its member countries which was adopt September 2015 in the 71st session of General Assembly with the commitment to achieve the targets all prescribed indicators by or before 2030.  Since the SDG3 is on “Good health and wellbeing” and the SDG5 is on “Gender Equality” which have important role and link with all other Sustainable Development Goals.

The good health and wellbeing which is SDG3 to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages with one of the aims to end epidemics and preventable deaths and achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection and access to quality essential health care services, medicines and vaccines for all.  It aims to ensure that people enjoy a level of health that enables them to lead a socially and economically productive life. It aims to end preventable deaths across all ages from communicable and non-communicable diseases and illness caused by air, water, and soil pollution and contamination, sensitive and ensure that all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development. It also aims to achieve universal health coverages including financial risk protection, accesses to quality essential health care service and accesses to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines. It also calls for a renewed focus on mental health issues

Gender equality is a fundamental human right and is a prerequisite for sustainable development.  The gender equality (SDG5) to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls with the objective to emphasises creation of gender sensitive development strategies, and equal rights and access to economic resources, as well as ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources and financial resources, including micro finance. SDG5 aims to achieve gender equality by ending all forms of discrimination, violence and harmful practices, including trafficking and sexual exploitation against women and girls and now coronavirusCOVID-19 pandemic outbreak. SGD5 calls for valuing women’s unpaid care and domestic work, in addition, it calls for full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life for women.

The success of United Nations agenda 2030 globally will depend, in a decisive way, on the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals in the next decade for India also.  As we know that India is second most population country.  It is not just the size of India’s population or the scale of its interventions that makes it so critical to the SDGs, but its unique convergence of extraordinary economic growth, commitment to sustainability, and social and technological innovations. Over the last decade, hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty in India through targeted schemes across sectors. India has also emerged as a global leader on the international climate action agenda and an enabler of sustainable development for developing countries around the world. This moral leadership, combined with some of the world’s largest and most ambitious social programmes including housing for all, energy for all, urbanisation, health and nutrition, and digital and financial inclusion, make it a leading force for the SDGs globally.

There are a lot of issues in India confronted to achieve successes of good health and wellbeing by or before 2030 of SDG3. The issue of Maternal Morality ratio (MMR), preventable death of new born and under five morality rates, epidemics of ADIS, anaemia among women, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, impact of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, water borne disease and other communicable diseases issues for good health and wellbeing.

Also, there are a lot of issues found in India of gender equality like decreasing of sex ratio, spousal violence or domestic violence, low participation of women leadership and less participation of legislative assembles and local bodies, huge wage gap between women and men and many other hidden of gender equality issues.

As per baseline report 2019, SDG India- index of NITI Aayog and SDG progress report 2020 of National Statistical Office (NSO) of Ministry of Statistics and programme implementation, government of India regarding the progress and performance of state and Union terroties of various targets and achievements and the data showed that states and UT’s is lagging behind the targets values which is being fixed for achieving successes of SDG3 and SDG5 till date.   Similarly, at globe level India’s achievement is not so for too good for SDG3and SDG5.

 Let me highlights some targets published in above report.  For SDG3 some indicators showed that current maternal morality ration is 130 as its target value is 70, children aged under five years die is 50 for every thousand live births as its target value is 11, immunization cover among children aged 12-23 months is 62 percent and its target value is 100 percent, 221 governmental health workers per lakh persons as the target is 550 and same position of other indicator.

Similarly, SDG5 indicators showed at present Sex Ratio at birth in India is 898 females per 1000 males as the national target 954 females for 1000 males. As per statistical reports almost half of pregnant women aged between 15 and 49 years are anaemic as its targets should be brought to 23.57 percent by 2030.    In case of wage gap the report showed the average wages and salaries of females is 70 per cent of that of males for regular wage and salaried employees in the age group 15-59 in India as to achieve equal pay for men and women as the national goal for 2030. A

                In case of Domestic violence, the report showed that one in every three ever-married women aged between 15 to 49 years’ experience physical, sexual or emotional form of spousal violence.  only

In case of Women in leadership that report showed only8.7 percent of seats in the State Legislative Assemblies are held by women as the national target for 2030 is to have 50 percent of the seats to be held by men and women each.  The report showed that the Labour force participation rate of women in India is only 32 percent of the labour force participation rate of men as the national target for 2030 is to have equal labour force participation rate for both women and men.

India has been actively working to cover every aspect of Goal 3 and strengthen the health sector in the country. The various initiatives of the Government cover many dimensions of the Goal, which include reducing mortality, reducing the spread of communicable and non-communicable diseases and ensuring universal health coverage.

India is also committed, both constitutionally and through its policies, to achieving gender equality in all spheres of life. The Constitution of India prohibits discrimination based on gender, upholds women’s right to participate in political and decision-making processes and reiterates the country’s commitments toward socio-economic wellbeing of women in India. The Gender Budget Statementwas introduced in the government Budgets 2005-06 to highlights differential impacts of budget on men and women by dissecting allocations and utilisations under government schemes and programmes by sex which tends to way for Sustainable Development Goals of SDG3 and SDG5.reventable death

At last in general, the good health and wellbeing is under progress and processes of reduce Maternal Mortality ratio to 70, end preventable death of new born and reduce under five mortality rate to 11 per thousand live births ,100 percent immunization coverage in children, increase health work force to 550 per lakh persons by 2030, end the epidemics of ADIS, tuberculosis   malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, control of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic , water born disease and other communicable diseases are the key challenges for the targets of SDG3. Also challenges for improving sex ratio to 954, reduce wage gap to equal wages of females and males, control domestic violence, equal participation of women in leadership, more engagement of labour force participation of females and more family programme for better performance of the states and Union territories for achieving success to SDG5 by 2030. The efforts towards goals, the government has launched several national level schemes and programmes for successes achievement of SDG’s by 2030.

Altaf Hussain Haji), ISS, Deputy Director General, National Statistical Office ( NSO )