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Misery of women in rural India

Earlier this year in June, Jacha-Bacha Survey (JABS) was conducted in the six states of Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Jharkhand. The survey was conducted to determine the conditions of pregnant and nursing women. The findings of the survey are undoubtedly heartbreaking and depressing. This survey led by economist activist Jean Dreze interviewed 706 women across the previously mentioned states. Among which 342 were pregnant and 364 were nursing mothers who had delivered a child in the preceding six months. 

The survey shows that about 63 % of pregnant women work until the last day of their pregnancy before delivering a baby, whereas around 21 % of nursing women during pregnancy work without help in their household works. Due to lack of food and rest around 49%, women in rural India felt exhausted and famished which also results in child deaths also. The survey report states, 

“In practice, we found that nursing women had spent close to Rs 6,500, on average, on their last delivery. This amounts to more than a month’s wages for a casual laborer, in the survey areas. One-third of these women’s households had to borrow or sell assets to meet the costs,” 

The women suffer from malnourishment during their pregnancies as it showed that the lowest average weight gain of 4 kilograms only was recorded Uttar Pradesh's Sonebhadra district. 64 women were interviewed here in Sonebhadra and among them 48% had no idea of the diet a pregnant woman needed to follow. In Odisha the reach of Integrated Child Development Services' scheme is better. Under the Ministry of Women & Child Development's Anganwadi system, children from 3-6 years are supposed to get eggs five times a week, in addition to the supply of eggs to children and nursing mothers as part of their ration. 

Overall the entire situation is disappointing, while Uttar Pradesh was the worst where 36% of women didn't get a single check-up listed under several schemes at a primary health center. On average, Himachal Pradesh performed the best.


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