Haunting poverty and ailing health system: The real face of Uttar Pradesh!

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the drive to fill the BJP's coffers in the wake of the upcoming crucial assembly polls. He had tweeted seeking contributions from across the country to the party. With the tag of 'Help make BJP strong, Help make India strong', Modi has sought micro-donations to the party and he opened the drive by donating Rs 1000 and now, the party is been receiving such micro-donations from the leaders and supporters across the country. 

Modi tweeted, "I have donated Rs 1,000 towards the party fund of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Our ideal of always putting Nation First and the Culture of lifelong selfless service by our cadre will be further strengthened by your micro donation. Help make BJP strong. Help make India strong." By the time he has made his tweet, it's undeniable that the people in the BJP-ruling Uttar Pradesh are becoming weaker and have been pushed into haunting poverty and worse health infrastructure.  

Uttar Pradesh is one of the states that will head for an assembly poll next year, which has been spelt as a prefix of BJP's politics towards the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The Central ruling party and its state unit have been staunchly working towards winning a second consecutive term and the party has been highlighting the successful projects of Modi's regime and his protege, Yogi Adityanath's government in the state. The rhetoric of the saffron camp has been in highlighting and announcing new projects and not touching on the real nightmares faced by the Uttar Pradesh voters. 

The real face of Uttar Pradesh has been exposed by the recent shocking revelations, which had slapped the Centre that the need of the hour for the state is not the airstrip on the highway but a release from the poverty and ailing healthcare system. The revelations would have irked the BJP as they were on a scale of drawing huge national attention. Despite the BJP's campaign over the Centre's projects, the fact is that nearly half of the state's population is suffering from poverty. Let's take a look at the plight of Uttar Pradesh people living in poverty and flawed health infrastructure, 


The poverty rate in Uttar Pradesh has been soaring in recent years. The recently released National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report 2021 has revealed that 37.79% of the state's population has been living in poverty. They have been categorized as 'multidimensionally poor' and the index has used health, education, and standard of living indicators to determine the intensity of poverty experienced by the people of Uttar Pradesh. 

Some of the parameters of the indicators of the index are nutrition, child mortality, and maternal health as the indicators for health, years of schooling and school attendance for education, and cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, ownership of assets and bank accounts as the standard of living indicators. Shockingly, it has been identified that Uttar Pradesh is doing worst on most of the parameters and 37.79% of the state's population have been declared 'poor'. 

According to the index, Uttar Pradesh has been rated as one of the states suffering from deep-rooted poverty despite being the state with a larger contribution to the nation's GDP. On the other hand, nutrition contributes significantly to Uttar Pradesh's bad MPI score, despite the state being a top producer of food. It has been reported that the districts of the north-central part of Uttar Pradesh, that border with Nepal, have the highest MPI scores, majorly contributing to the state's poverty rate. 

The index had shown that the districts of Shrawasti, Bahraich, Balrampur have 70% or more people in the poor category while another four districts have more than 57% of people living poor. Uttar Pradesh is doing worst in the indicators of Nutrition, Child mortality, Maternal Health, Years of Schooling, Cooking fuel, Sanitation, Electricity, and Housing than the national average. The index says that 25.01% of India's population remains multidimensional poor. Bihar has the largest part of such population with 51.91% while Kerala has the smallest with 0.71%. 

Healthcare Infrastructure: 

While Uttar Pradesh can pat itself that it is not the worst in the scale of Bihar in poverty, the BJP ruling state must acknowledge the fact that it is doing worst in the healthcare system than any other Indian state. According to the fourth Health Index launched by NITI Aayog on Monday -December 27, Uttar Pradesh has been declared as the worst performer in the country in terms of overall health performance. The fourth round of the Health Index took into account the period 2019-20 (reference year). It must be noted that Uttar Pradesh has topped the table on incremental performance despite being at the bottom in the overall performance.

While Uttar Pradesh has been named as the worst performer in the country on health parameters, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh were the second and third-worst performers respectively. On the front of incremental performance, the health index has said that Uttar Pradesh has improved its performance in 33 of 43 indicators. The health index has been calculated as a weighted average of all the indicators in each state and union territory for a base year (2018-19) and a reference year (2019-20). It has been developed by 24 indicators in three specific areas - health outcomes, governance and information, and key inputs and processes. 

Uttar Pradesh has been identified to have the poorest institutional delivery in the country. Institutional delivery means giving birth to a child in a medical institution under the overall supervision of trained health personnel. It will also cover the availability of amenities to handle the situation and save the life of the mother and child. In an institutional delivery, life-saving equipment and hygienic conditions reduce the risk of death and complications among mothers and infants. 

Uttar Pradesh has recorded poor institutional delivery with 60.8 per cent in 2019-20. The indicators are picked up on the basis of their importance and availability of reasonably reliable data at least annually from existing data sources such as the Sample Registration System, Civil Registration System, and Health Management Information Systems. The health index hasn't included the impact of Covid-19 on health outcomes or any of the other indicators as the performances were calculated during the pre-Covid period.

However, despite the haunting poverty and ailing health system, the BJP aims to retain its reign in Uttar Pradesh by defeating the anti-incumbency wave. Uttar Pradesh has also become the first Indian major state to introduce ambulance services to cows and the party plans to celebrate the introduction as one of its achievements with Modi recently claiming that 'cow is a mother and sacred to us'. Despite these flaws, BJP and Modi have been trying to retain popularity over their campaign of constructing Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and announcing introducing new projects after the polls.