Govt initiatives led to decline of maternal mortality, under-5 child mortality rate: Prez

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI) President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said maternal mortality and under-5 child mortality rates in the country have declined due to the government's initiatives.

Addressing a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament, he said the government is relentlessly working towards protecting the health of infants and pregnant women through various initiatives like Rashtriya Poshan Abhiyaan, free check-ups and financial assistance to expecting mothers.

'As a result of this, the Maternal Mortality Rate has declined from 130 per lakh in 2014 to 113. The Under 5 Child Mortality Rate has also reduced to 36 for the first time, which is less than the world average rate of 39,' he said.

Keeping in mind the health concerns of working women in rural areas of the country, Kovind said the government is implementing the 'Suvidha' scheme under which sanitary napkins are made available at a nominal cost of Re 1.

Underlining the role of women entrepreneurs have a vital role to play in building a self-reliant India, he said the government has taken several steps to provide new opportunities for self-employment to women.

'Under the MUDRA scheme, more than 25 crore loans have been sanctioned so far, of which nearly 70 per cent have been given to women entrepreneurs,' he said.

'Under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - Rashtriya Grameen Ajeevika Mission, more than 7 crore women entrepreneurs have become a part of the network of nearly 66 lakh Self Help Groups in the country. These women groups have been provided bank loans worth Rs 3,40,000 crore in the last 6 years,' he added.

The President said as the government considers it important to ensure equal participation by women, it is providing new opportunities for our sisters and daughters in various fields.

'My Government has taken several decisions in this direction, such as appointing women in the Fighter stream of the Indian Air Force and the Military Police for the first time, as well as allowing women to work in underground and open cast mines during the night shift,' he said.

'Keeping in mind the safety of the women, work on several initiatives such as setting up One Stop Centres, National Database of criminals, Emergency Response Support System and Fast Track Courts across the country is progressing at a rapid pace,' Kovind added.

Following the mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas', the government, he said, is prioritising the development of all sectors and all sections of the society.

'To alleviate the hardships faced by Divyangjans, thousands of buildings, public transport buses and railways have been made accessible. About 700 websites have also been made accessible for Divyanjans,' he said.

'Similarly, to provide better facilities and equal opportunities to transgenders, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act has been implemented,' the President said. PTI UZM ZMN