Chhattisgarh must put human life above that of cows | editorials | Hindustan Times
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Chhattisgarh must put human life above that of cows

With low human development indicators on almost all counts, the Chhattisgarh government’s focus on improving the lives of cows in the state is somewhat bewildering.

editorials Updated: Aug 01, 2017 16:29 IST
The Chhattisgarh government has announced that it will roll out an ambulance service for cows in ten districts. Perhaps they should invest in better ambulance services for humans as well.
The Chhattisgarh government has announced that it will roll out an ambulance service for cows in ten districts. Perhaps they should invest in better ambulance services for humans as well.(AP)

The Chhattisgarh government has announced its intention to begin an ambulance service for cows. The service will be rolled out in ten districts over the next few months. While any positive step for the care of injured animals is a welcome move, it is unclear if the ambulance service extends to animals beyond the bovine species. It also remains unclear how much setting up this service will cost the state’s exchequer.

At a time when so much of the state government’s focus has been on the protection of cows (in April, the chief minister had said that anyone found killing cows in Chhattisgarh will be hanged), it is important to keep in mind the state of people in the state. According to the Planning Commission’s India Human Development Report 2011, Chhattisgarh with a human development index (HDI) of 0.358 was ranked the lowest of all states in India. The highest ranked state was Kerala with an HDI of 0.790. To put it in perspective, the HDI of Chhattisgarh is lower than that of countries such as South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Burkina Faso (countries grouped under ‘low human development’).

The health care and education systems also leave much to be desired. According to the State Fact Sheet for Chhattisgarh in the National Family Health Survey (2015-16), against the target of infant mortality rate (IMR) of 27 per 1,000 live births by 2015, Chhattisgarh has an IMR of 54 (the average for India is 39), and an under-five mortality rate of 64. The percentage of women with 10 or more years of schooling is an abysmal 26.5% (in rural Chhattisgarh, the number is as low as 20.1%).

Given that the development indicators (for human beings) is so low, perhaps the Chhattisgarh government would do better to focus on improving the lives of the poorest humans of the state before investing much-needed state resources in the setting up of ambulance services for cows.