As told to Parliament (March 24, 2023): India has eliminated leprosy, as per WHO criterion

All that was discussed in the House through the day  

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 27 March 2023


India has eliminated leprosy as a public health problem, according to the World Health Organization criterion, Union Minister Of Health And Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya told the Lok Sabha. There must be less than one case per 10,000 population at the national level, the criterion set in 2005 stated.

With several interventions introduced under National Leprosy Eradication Programme in the last few years, the number of new leprosy cases detected have come down to 75,394 in 2021-22 from 125,785 in 2014-15. 

Children suffering from malnutrition

The recently released report of National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 (2019-21) showed the nutrition indicators for children under the age of five  have improved as compared to NFHS-4 (2015-16), Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Women and Child Development told the Lok Sabha. 

A decline in key nutrition indicators has been noted in NFHS-5 compared with NFHS-4. Wasting has improved from 21 per cent (NFHS-4) to 19.3 per cent (NFHS-5); undernutrition has improved from 35.7 per cent (NFHS-4) to 32.1 per cent (NFHS-5) and stunting has improved from 38.4 per cent (NFHS-4) to 35.5 per cent (NFHS-5).

Menstrual hygiene scheme

Currently, 26 states and Union Territories implement the Menstrual Hygiene Scheme with either the National Health Mission (NHM) budget or combined budget of NHM and the state, Irani told the Lok Sabha. 

In 2021-22, approximately 3.49 million adolescent girls were provided sanitary napkin packs every month as per “Health Management Information System” (HMIS) data.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers implements the Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janausadhi Pariyojna, which is an important step in ensuring the health security for women, Irani said. 

Under the project, over 8,800 Janaushidhi Kendras have been set up across the country that provide Oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkins named ‘Suvidha’ at Rs 1 per pad, she added.

Lifestyle diseases

The proportion of non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) have increased in India from 30.5 per cent in 1990 to 55.4 per cent in 2016, Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare told the Lok Sabha.

The figures were quoted from 2017 Indian Council of Medical Research study report, India: Health of the Nation’s States — The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative (2017).

Gender gap in India

India’s rank has improved  on the Global Gender Gap Index in 2022 compared with 2021, Irani told the Lok Sabha. The Global Gender Gap Report 2022 was released by the World Economic Forum on July 13, 2022.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2022 ranks India at 135 out of 146 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index with a score of 0.629 out of 1.

High blood lead levels

Research by government think tank NITI Aayog and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India has found that 275 million children under 19 years of age in India have blood lead levels that are abnormally high that is, greater than five micrograms per decilitre, Pawar told the Lok Sabha.

A report, Assessment of Lead Impact on Human and India’s Response in July, 2022 was based on 89 data sets from 36 researches that were carried out between 1970 and 2014. 

Cancer due to arsenic contamination in Assam and Bihar

Assam had an estimated 39,787 cancer cases and  Bihar had 109,274 in 2022, according to the ICMR National Cancer Registry Programme, Pawar told the Lok Sabha.

Prolonged use of arsenic contaminated water for drinking causes several diseases, predominantly skin pigmentation, thickening, hard patches on the palms and soles of the feet (hyperkeratosis), he said. 

These occur after a minimum exposure of approximately five years and may be a precursor to skin cancer. In addition, long-term exposure to arsenic may also cause cancers of the bladder and lungs, the minister added.

India's position in world in fish production

India is the third largest fish-producing country, contributing 8 per cent to the global fish production and ranks second in aquaculture production, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala told the Rajya Sabha.

Fish production in 2021-22 was 16.24 million tonnes comprising marine fish production of 4.12 million tonnes and 12.12 million tonnes from aquaculture. 

Challenges faced, to a certain extent, include increasing availability of quality seed, cold chain, meeting requirements of infrastructure and post-harvest infrastructure, Rupala said.

Decline in cultivable land area

The cultivable land area in India has declined 179,993 thousand hectare in 2019-20 from 1,80, 624 thousand hectare in 2018-19, according to the latest Land Use Statistics-at a Glance 2010-11 to 2019-20, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar told the Rajya Sabha.

The marginal decline in agricultural/cultivable land has been mainly due to diversion of land for non-agricultural purposes such as urbanisation, creation of infrastructure viz roads, airports, housing, etc, Tomar said. 

While there is shift in agricultural land for non agricultural purposes, non-agricultural land is also being brought under agricultural uses through various schemes implemented by the government, the minister said. 

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