Sri MGR Year 95, 20th May, Sunday
MGR Devotee Suresh has forwarded a report of National Rural Health Mission report published by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Nirman Bhavan, New Delhi – 110001.
In the pages 87 to 88 three Tamil Nadu Leader names were mentioned the first is Periyar followed by MGR and Kamaraj. Only these leader names were mentioned. The extract is given below.
TAMIL NADU’S SUCCESSFUL INITIATIVES IN THE HEALTH SECTOR
(Based on T. V. Anthony’s article in “ Population Policy and Reproductive Health” and the Tamil Nadu Case in Jean Dreze and Amartya Kumar Sen’s India – Development and Participation)
Tamil Nadu has been one of the best performers with regard to reduction in fertility rates and a large number of indicators of women’s and children’s well being like IMR, MR, Nutrition, schooling, etc. While Kerala has had an advantage of good social indicators over a long time frame, Tamil Nadu is a better example for other states as it demonstrates that even with high poverty ratios, large population, and poor nutrition statistics, etc, it is possible to improve the performance in a short span of only a few decades. Some of the factors identified to explain the improved performance are as follows:
Female Age at Marriage has risen significantly in Tamil Nadu.This has been possible due to a strong social awareness programme created by a popular reformer called “Periyar” Ramaswamy whose influence was felt all over Tamil Nadu, particularly by people of the poorer strata. Periyar emphasized the need to ‘liberate women from frequent delivery by the use of contraception’ and ‘ not to allow marriage of a woman before 22, so that 3 to 4 births could be averted’. The initial push given by Periyar for raising the age at marriage continues to be given support by the Tamil Nadu government. Welfare schemes for girls provide grants if girls complete 8th /10th Standard of education and marry after the age of 20. The amount is forfeited if either condition is not fulfilled.
The Chief Minister’s Noon Meal Programme launched in 1982 all over the State (It covered some areas in Kamaraj’s time ), has given a tremendous boost for health, welfare and for the acceptance of the small family norm. It was launched against administrative advice as it was expected to be very expensive, involving Rs. 100 crores, at 85000 feeding centres, for 85 lakh children in the 2-15 age group, requiring 2 lakh additional staff, and huge logistic issue of supplies.
MGR’s Will pushed the scheme. He said – “ When hunger haunted my home a lady next door extended to us a bowl of rice, and saved us from extinction….Today as CM it is my duty to provide at least one meal to every child every day, to eliminate the agony of their helpless mothers.”
Expected and unexpected benefits of the Noon Meal programme have been many. It is a crèche for the 2-5 age kids; school attendance has improved and drop out reduced; child nutrition has improved; Centres serve as immunization/ antenatal care/ supplemental feed centres for 6 month to 2 year children covered under TINP; provides employment for about 2,00,000 women, mostly widows and destitutes, as mid day meal organisers. These women helped carrying the health message to the poorest households as they came from that social background. Provided an all women focus.
Serious efforts at raising female literacy and status. Kamaraj in 1961 introduced the concept of one school for every village. Assistance for education up to Class – VII is provided by the State by free education, mid – day meal, free textbooks, one set of uniforms, one set of chappals, and free bus pass.
End of the extract.
An elaborate look into MGR’s mid day meal scheme which saw only brickbats on its launch and now bouquets on his achievement.
Direct link of NRHM Framework is given below: