Gender Statistics paint a gloomy picture of Uttar Pradesh

The birth anniversary of late Prof P C Mahalanobis, (which falls on 29th June), the man who made invaluable contribution in the field of economic planning and statistical development has been designated as ‘National Statistics Day’. This year’s theme was ‘Gender statistics’. To celebrate this occasion, a day long programme was jointly organized by Economics and Statistics Division, State Planning Institute, Uttar Pradesh, NSSO (FOD) Lucknow and UNICEF Lucknow, at Yojna Bhawan on Wednesday.

Many eminent speakers made their presentations. Stressing on the vital importance of statistics in the planning of government policies, speakers said that it is equally important to ensure that proper and adequate gender data is also available as this will ensure a just society for every individual.

The chief guest of the programme, Mr. Manjeet Singh, Principal Secretary Planning, said in his keynote address that, “Covering data gaps in other departments like health and education, and checking how the gender based programmes are doing can be some valuable add on tasks that the statistics department should take upon in order to ensure gender equality,”.

In her inaugural address, the first woman Director of the Directorate of Economic Statistics division Uttar Pradesh, Ms Himanshu Singh said that gender statistics are important for flawless planning of policies. Dwelling on the new initiatives and new heights achieved by her department Ms Singh lauded the dedication and devotion of her departmental staff leading to Uttar Pradesh becoming the first state to submit the First Five Year Plan proposal this year.

Mr. Akhilesh Gautam, Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF,  emphasized on how the dwindling sex ratio in Uttar Pradesh from 927 in 1991 to 889 in 2011 is going to have serious implications on the social fabric.

Illustrating his point through a powerful audio visual presentation, Mr Gautam pointed out that while gender bias is apparent in all the indicators-- be it health, education or social norms-- the indicator of malnutrition shows very little difference between boys and girls.

Mr. Harish Chandra, DDG, NSSO in his address advocated a fairer deal for women asserting that they have to play a double role in society and hence they must be given “much more than equality.”

Mr. A K Singh, Director Giri Institute said that it is very important that the gender gaps are addressed. He said that data on widows, economic impact of child marriages will help government to formulate policies for them.

“Data collection is not enough, analysis and interpretation is equally important,” said Dr Singh.

In a passionate plea for gender equality Dr Sheela Mishra, Reader Statistics Department Lucknow University, said that we need women on top as they would be able to understand the issues of women better and give a new perception to issues. Urging more women to go in for higher education, Ms Mishra said that a woman must be encouraged and supported to reach the top without making any
compromises, including giving up her feminism.

The others who made their presentations included Mr. S C Singh, joint director, DES, Prof Yashvir Tyagi, HoD Economics department, Dr R K Chauhan, Joint director PRC, Lucknow University .

A DES Newsletter was also released by Mr. Manjeet Singh on the occasion.

Kulsum Mustafa
(The author is a senior journalist and also serves as Secretary of Media Nest)

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