ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gender Budgeting for Sustainable Development in India

The fifth Sustainable Development Goal mandates that India close its gender gap by 2030. An evaluation of gender budgeting as a whole and a diverse range of gender-sensitive interventions under the same (2005–06 to 2020–21) reveals severe shortcomings. First, a low and declining trend has been found in the shares of gender budgeting to total government expenditure, and women-specific schemes to total funds for gender budgeting. Second, the allocation of total funds for various schemes is either stagnating or declining, with some having received no funds over the last two consecutive years. Problems of design too persist, all contributing to a significant gender gap for Indian women vis-à-vis their male counterparts.

Infant Mortality Rate

Infant mortality rate has been improving in India for a considerable time now. From 2009 to 2018, India has improved the IMR from 50 to 32. This article aims to understand the underlying improvement in the IMR at the state level and establish whether there is convergence. For this exercise, the article uses health inequality measures like standard deviation, coeffi cient of variation, rate of improvement differences, β convergence and Gini coeffi cient. The fi ndings reveal that all states show improvement in IMR over 10 years, but the rate of improvement is varying amongst state and there is no convergence amongst the states. Small states and union territories improve the IMR at a higher rate compared to that of the national improvement rate.

Multiple Vulnerabilities in Utilising Maternal and Child Health Services in Uttar Pradesh, India

Although there are multiple vulnerabilities that may prevent access to maternal and child health services in India, the literature has so far focused on unidimensional vulnerabilities—typically, economic or social vulnerabilities. The linkages between multiple vulnerabilities and the utilisation of MCH services are investigated using data from National Family Health Survey-4 (2015–16) for Uttar Pradesh to analyse whether women received full antenatal care, institutional delivery care, postnatal care, and full immunisation for their children. Bivariate analysis and binomial logistic regression analysis are employed to examine the multiple vulnerabilities that service utilisation across three dimensions—education, wealth, and caste. Women with multiple vulnerabilities are less likely to utilise essential MCH services.

Caste Prejudice and Infection

In light of India’s continuing efforts to reduce maternal mortality, why government hospitals continue to be dangerously unhygienic, posing serious infection risks to patients, is explored. Through interviews and observations at public hospitals in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh, we find...

Intimate Partner Violence

Unless India acts on all important causes, including intimate partner violence, that are hindering improvements in reproductive, maternal, and child health outcomes, the sustainable development goals related to health will remain difficult to achieve. Using the National Family Health Survey 2015–16, it is found that intimate partner violence has adverse impacts on the pregnancy outcomes, maternal and newborns’ health, and related healthcare access.

Delivering Essential Nutrition

In India, despite provisions for tribal development, 32% of tribal women are chronically undernourished, as opposed to 23% among those not belonging to tribal households.Large-scale surveys and routine monitoring are currently deficient in measuring the nutrition status of women, especially tribal women. This study was undertaken to analyse the reach of various health-related schemes for tribal women in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha. In the light of its findings, it is recommended that all national schemes should be reviewed through a tribal lens, as tribes remain outside the ambit of most nutrition safety nets. Proven measures like strengthening tribal development nodal agencies, motivational incentives to fieldworkers and organised community involvement, need to be scaled up.

Mobile Phones for Maternal Health in Rural Bihar

Health programmes that are using mobile phones to improve maternal health in rural India are examined. Presented by its promoters as a universal, accessible and “smart” empowering technology, how mobile devices transform gender inequalities on the ground is analysed. By using empirical data collected on a global mHealth programme deployed in Bihar, how mHealth devices negate the multifactorial dimension of gender and health inequalities is explained, and also how these devices can reinforce inequalities on the ground is examined.

Where Is the Husband?

Despite global efforts towards creating awareness and involving men in maternal and reproductive health of women, their participation remains low, particularly among the tribal population.

Realising Universal Maternity Entitlements

In India, most of the work women do is invisible and unrecognised because it is done outside the boundaries of the formal economy. As a result, the laws pertaining to maternity entitlements reach a very limited number of women. The National Food Security Act, 2013 was the first national-level legislation to recognise the right of all women to maternity entitlements and wage compensation. Since the passage of the act, India has been using an existing conditional cash transfer scheme, the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana, to implement this entitlement. An examination of the implementation of defined maternity entitlements under the act via a conditional cash transfer, highlights the failure of such a programme to uphold the spirit of the act. Amendments to the act are necessary to ensure that the most vulnerable women are able to realise their right to maternity entitlements, wage compensation, health and nutrition.

Demand-side Financing and Promotion of Maternal Health

Use of demand-side financing has become increasingly common in maternal healthcare and India has been a leading example with large-scale programmes such as the Janani Suraksha Yojana and Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana. This paper undertakes a systematic review of the evidence to consider how demand-side financing has been used and whether there has been any impact on maternal health service utilisation, maternal health, or other outcomes. The findings suggest that a relatively narrow focus on achieving targets has often overburdened health facilities, while inadequate referral systems and unethical practices present overwhelming barriers for women with obstetric complications. The limited evidence available also suggests that little has been done to challenge the low status of poor women at home and in the health system.
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