New Delhi: Narendra Modi on Wednesday came under attack on the issue of high infant mortality rate in Gujarat with Congress leader Jairam Ramesh saying the state`s efforts to check the trend was very poor in the past 10 years.
Citing the latest study published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet, the Union Rural Development Minister said its district-wise analysis of Under 5 child mortality in India shows that not one district from Gujarat figure among the top 50 districts, which have shown the fastest decline in infant mortality in past 10 years.
On the contrary, among the 50 districts which have showed the slowest decline in infant mortality six districts-- Valsad, Panchmahal, Sabarkantha, Dahod, Amreli and Vadodara-- are from Gujarat, said Ramesh who was recently appointed as the convenor of a `Special Group` of AICC set up to facilitate and coordinate actions for the coming Lok Sabha elections.
Referring to the Lancet study, he said 15 of these 50 districts are from Tamil Nadu, 10 each from Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir, three from West Bengal and two from Himachal Pradesh.
"Gujarat has 26 districts. Out of 26 districts, six districts figure in the list of worst performing districts. It reflects the state of healthcare, reflects the priorities of the (Modi) government," Ramesh said taking potshots at Modi`s Gujarat development model.
He also said that from 2001 to 2012, infant mortality rate in Maharashtra has fallen from 62 per 1000 births to 33, Karnataka from 73 to 43, Tamil Nadu from 78 to 27, Andhra Pradesh from 70 to 47, West Bengal from 96 to 40 and Gujarat from 73 to 52 only.
Gujarat`s performance is worst than that of Bihar where Under-5 child death has fallen from 100 to 63, a significant decline in last 10 years, and Uttar Pradesh from 124 to 75, he said.
According to Ramesh, the Lancet findings "expose the myth of Gujarat model".