Times of India
23 March 2011
By Sandeep Ashar & Nitin Yeshwantrao
When it comes to health, Maharashtra is not fighting fit. The state has not only failed to tackle the spread of vector–borne diseases like malaria, it has also witnessed a rise in AIDS–related deaths. As per the economic survey, 1,574 people succumbed to AIDS in 2010–33% higher than the mortality rate recorded in 2009. In 2009, there were 1,183 AIDS–related deaths across the state. The number of HIV postitive people has also increased by 30.12%: 13,182 cases were reported in 2010 as compared to 10,130 in 2009. The HIV positivity rate–the ratio of the number of persons per lakh who tested positive–showed a drop from 3.5% in 2009 to 2.9% in 2010. Officials said the data indicates an improvement in the detection rate.
Malaria deaths drop, but cases rise by 80% over two years
On the one hand, the state and the municipal corporation have succeeded in arresting the rise in deaths due to malaria, but on the other, they have failed to bring down the incidence of the vectorborne disease. Data provided by the Directorate of Health Services, Government of Maharashtra shows that 1.24 lakh malaria cases were reported between April and December 2010. In contrast, 98,653 cases were reported in 2009–10. And in the previous year, there were 69,003 cases of malaira. In other words, there has been an 80% rise in the incidence of malaria in the last two years.
Around 177 people died of malaria between April and December 2010, as against 232 deaths witnessed in 2009–10. In cities like Mumbai, officials identified high construction zones as problems areas. Cases of other vector–borne diseases like chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis also rose sharply, while those of dengue and filariasis declined.
State placed third in India for crimes against children
Maharashtra has the dubious honour of ranking third when it comes to crimes against children. In 2009, 2,894 crimes against children were reported in the state. Only Madhya Pradesh (4,646 cases) and UP (3,085) had a higher rate. Of the 2,894 cases in Maharashtra, 612 were related to incidents of rape and molestation. There were 534 cases of abduction and 182 murder cases.
Dowry deaths on the rise
With 15,048 reported cases of crime against women, the state holds the fifth worst record in India. Around 46% of the cases recorded were because of cruelty in the hands of husbands and relatives. On the positive side, the overall number of cases related to crime against women in Maharashtra has declined from 17,510 in 2008 to 16,620 in 2009. But dowry deaths have seen a rise from 175 in 2008 to 217 in 2009.
Mumbra to get a Rs 20 crore shot in the arm
The townships of Mumbra–Kausa will find a place of prominence in the government’s budget on Wednesday, as finance minister Ajit Pawar is likely to allocate around Rs 20 crore for infrastructure development. Though the area is governed by the Thane Municipal Corporation, the half–hearted commitment to this township by the ruling Shiv Sena–BJP has resulted in a near–zero social infrastructure, say activists. The TMC has been asked to identify key projects, which will be funded directly from the state kitty.
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