Siddaramaiah’s ire over dip in education and health indices score of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi surprises many

Dakshina Kannada and Udupi were ranked second and fourth, respectively, in the Human Development Index in the State Human Development Report 2022

Updated - August 04, 2023 10:58 pm IST

Published - August 04, 2023 08:05 pm IST - MANGALURU

The Government Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru continues to treat patients not only from different districts of Karnataka but also from Kerala.

The Government Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru continues to treat patients not only from different districts of Karnataka but also from Kerala. | Photo Credit: File Photo

The recent ire of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah against district officials for what he said was a fall in the education index and health index of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in the last five years has surprised many. Because Dakshina Kannada and Udupi were ranked second and fourth, respectively, in the Human Development Index in the State Human Development Report 2022, which is the fourth one.

During the official review meetings in Udupi and Mangaluru on August 1, Mr. Siddaramaiah took Education and Health department officials of Udupi and Dakhina Kannada to task for the fall in the education and health indicators of the two districts during the five-year rule of the BJP. The two districts had occupied top slots in the two sectors during his previous stint as the Chief Minister, he said.

For the fall in the education index, Mr. Siddramaiah relied on the ranking of the two districts in the SSLC examination, which is calculated in terms of pass percentage of students in the examination. To show the fall in the health index, the Chief Minister relied on the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) available on the Health Management Information System of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

M. Mohan Alva, chairman of Alva’s Education Foundation, Moodbidri, said the quality of education and health in the twin districts had not gone down. “It is because of the quality of education and health that people from other parts of the State and adjoining Kerala continue to prefer health and education services available in the twin districts,” he said.

A senior Education Department official, who did not want his name to be mentioned, said the twin districts had been registering a pass percentage of 80 and above in the SSLC examination for several years. “Our level has not gone down, maybe other districts are catching up with us. Our teaching and evaluation system continues to be among the top,” the official said.

Mangaluru City North MLA Y. Bharath Shetty, also a former national vice-president of the Dental Council of India, said the IMR and the MMR of the two districts were far below the State average. “Moreover, health facilities in the twin districts act as tertiary care centres to which patients from across the State and Kerala come. Several of these cases are critical ones and deaths of those add up to our numbers,” he said.

Dr. Shetty said the Chief Minister had failed to appreciate the work of health workers in significantly bringing down the number of malaria and dengue cases. Mr. Siddaramaiah also failed to acknowledge the work of health professionals in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, physician and public health activist Srinivas Kakkilaya said Mr. Siddaramaiah had rightly expressed concern over the fall in the education and health indexes. “The IMR of 11 and MMR of 52 for the twin districts is still a grave number for the region with medical institutions of repute. We need to deeply introspect and work towards betterment of the system,” he said.

What does Human Development Report - 2022 state about Dakhina Kannada and Udupi

Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts are among the top 10 districts of the State with good human development indices, stated the State Human Development Report - 2022, which is the fourth one, of the Department of Planning, Programme Monitoring and Statistics.

The report was presented with specific action-oriented agenda to reach $1 trillion gross domestic product through human development milestones in the sustainable development goals.

Bengaluru district is ranked first with the Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.738 which is arrived at by looking at the health, education, income, and two other indices. Dakshina Kannada is ranked second with the HDI of 0.687, followed by Chikkamagaluru (0.668), Udupi (0.665), and Kodagu district (0.664).

Among the top 10 taluks, Mangaluru taluk in Dakshina Kannada district tops with the HDI of 0.7867. Sullia taluk (HDI 0.7461) and Bantwal taluk (HDI 0.7400), both in Dakshina Kannada, are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Udupi taluk (HDI 0.7111) is ranked ninth.

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