Debunking Narendra Modi's claims of empowerment of women and girl child, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday ridiculed his vision speech on Sunday saying the "pathetic" record of Gujarat does not support his "boasts".
"In his so-called vision speech on Sunday, the Chief Minister of Gujarat and BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Modi spoke about the great importance he places on the empowerment of women and the girl child.
"The record of Gujarat in this area is, to put mildly, pathetic especially given its level of economic development," Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said in a statement.
Reeling out figures on female infant morality rates of various age groups, rural sanitation coverage and bank linkages to women SHGs, Ramesh said, "the emphasis Modi places on women's empowerment and the girl child is welcome. However, his track record of achievement in the area even after a decade as Chief Minister does not support his boasts".
Quoting from figures from 2012 census, Ramesh noted that Gujarat's sex ratio of 919 females for 1000 males is "much worse" than all India average 943 females for 1000 males. It also has low child sex ratio at 890 girl child for 1000 male child as against the national ratio of 919 and 1000.
He said that the latest data on infant mortality rate, which is the number of child deaths below the age of one year per thousand births is also high in Gujarat compared to Congress and allies-ruled states of Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh as well Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
Ramesh said that Gujarat is also placed poorly than such states in female under five mortality rate at 50 per thousand and also in case of maternal mortality rate of 122 per thousand vis a vis Congress-ruled states.
"Data from NABARD is equally revealing. In 2012-2013, bank linkages to women SHGs at an all India level was above Rs 21 thousand crore of which Gujarat accounted for just Rs 120 crore in contrast to Rs 11,200 crore in Andhra Pradesh and Rs 2900 crore in Tamil Nadu. SHG bank linkages even in Bihar were higher at Rs 222 crore," he said.
Ramesh also pointed out that even in rural sanitation, the record of Modi's Gujarat was only slightly higher than the national average despite his recent statement on "toilets first temples later".