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Ahead of polls, Rajasthan govt to start immunisation drive in Dalit-dominated villages

On the Centre’s directions, the Rajasthan government will focus on immunising children up to two years and pregnant women in 599 scheduled caste-dominated villages in the state, officials said.

jaipur Updated: Apr 17, 2018 22:00 IST
P Srinivasan
P Srinivasan
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan news,Immunisation,Dalit villages
Mission Indradhanush will be launched in 599 scheduled caste-dominated villages in Rajasthan’s 30 districts. (Reuters Photo)

On the Centre’s directions, the Rajasthan government will focus on immunising children up to two years and pregnant women in 599 scheduled caste-dominated villages in the state, officials said.

The Mission Indradhanush (MI) campaign will be started in the villages in 30 districts from April 23, a move seen as the BJP government’s Dalit outreach efforts ahead of the assembly elections due by the year-end.

On the Ambedkar birth anniversary on April 14, chief minister Vasundhara Raje announced a slew of sops – more loans for setting up industries, interest subsidy, free coaching scheme, recruitment of sanitation staff and so on – for Dalits, saying emphatically that the reservation policy would stay in place.

“The union health ministry secretary, through a video-conference on April 6, directed the state to launch Special Intensified Mission Indradhanush (SIMI) in scheduled caste-dominated 599 villages from April 23,” said Veenu Gupta, Rajasthan health department additional chief secretary.

“These villages in Rajasthan have been selected by the government of India and we will conduct the vaccination programme as per the directions from the Centre.”

According to the 2011 Census, scheduled castes constitute 17.8% of Rajasthan population, and scheduled tribes 13.5%.

Districts with high SC population include Ganganagar (36.6%), Hanumangarh (27.8%), Karauli (24.3%), Churu (22.1%), Bharatpur (21.9%), Dausa (21.7%), Nagaur (21.2%), Bikaner and Sawai Madhopur (20.9% each), Kota (20.8%), Dholpur (20.4%) and Tonk (20.3%).

The three districts excluded from the immunisation campaign have less SC population -- Banswara (4.5%), Dungarpur (3.8%), and Pratapgarh (7%).

Gupta directed chief medical and health officers, and district reproductive and child health officers last week to verify the head count of children up to 2 years and pregnant women, select places for immunisation sessions, and publicise the drive at the village level.

She told the officials to take the help of woman and child development department, panchayati raj department, and Nehru Yuva Kendras to vaccinate all the identified children and pregnant women. “The second phase of MI will take place in the 599 villages on May 21 and 22, and third phase on June 19 and 20,” Gupta said.

According to health department data, the state has achieved an overall 80.04% immunisation. Two districts left out of the campaign have low immunisation rate – Banswara (71.32%, rank 33), and Dungarpur (73.5%, rank 31). This shows that government, instead of increasing immunisation percentage in poor-ranking districts, is focusing on SC-dominated villages.

As many as 111 villages, maximum among the 30 districts, have been selected in Ganganagar, which records 81.11% immunisation and ranks 14 in the state. The drive will cover 57 villages in Hanumangarh district, 39 in Karauli, 38 in Barmer, and 33 each in Bharatpur and Alwar.

First Published: Apr 17, 2018 22:00 IST