Kerala emerged on top while Bihar fared the worst in outcomes linked to health, nutrition and cognitive growth of children in the 0-6 years age group, based on a comparative analysis of public data for 2005-06 and 2015-16. Based on the outcome indicators, the overall India score on a scale of 0-1 adds up to 0.585, far from impressive, though it reflects an improvement of 0.142 over the score of 0.443 in 2005-06. The findings —Young Child Outcomes Index (YCOI)— are part of the “State of the Young Child in India” report, brought out by civil society organisation Mobile Creches and supported by Bernard Van Leer Foundation.
What
  1. The report, released by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on 4 September 2020, also presents a Young Child Environment Index (YCEI) for 2015-16, concluding that the indices make one thing clear that states with better circumstances tend to have better young child outcomes.
  2. YCOI takes into account three major componentshealth, nutrition and cognitive growth— and the respective indicators selected include infant mortality rate, stunting and net attendance at the primary school level
  3. The YCEI is based on indices using data related to various indicators on gender, poverty, health, safe water supply and education.
  4. The India score for 2015-16 for the child environment Index is 0.672. Kerala and Goa are the top two states in both indices while Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are among the bottom five. 
  5. YCOI, Kerala leads with an impressive score of 0.858 in 2015-16. Goa comes second with a score of 0.817 in 2015-16.
  6. It points out wide differences across states in outcomes linked to health, nutrition and cognitive growth. Pointing that while all states have registered different levels of improvement between 2005-06 and 2015-16, there are as many as eight states with scores below the national average of 2015-16. 
  7. These are: Assam (0.583), Meghalaya (0.562), Rajasthan (0.556), Chhattisgarh (0.555), Madhya Pradesh (0.526), Jharkhand (0.500), Uttar Pradesh (0.460) and Bihar (0.452)
  8. All these eight states also fare poorly on the YCEI. The picture also varies across rural and urban areas, economic groups, caste and religion-based social groups, gender and household education levels.
  9. In YCOI, Tripura has made significant improvement over a decade moving from a score of 0.582 for 2005-06 to 0.761 in 2015-16. Bihar has the lowest score of 0.452 in 2015-16, though up from the abysmally low score for 0.298 in 2005-06.
  10. On the YCEI, Kerala yet again tops the child environment index (0.855), followed by Goa (0.846) and Sikkim (0.819)
  11. Arunachal Pradesh has the lowest score with 0.533 followed by Manipur at (0.537) and Jharkhand (0.578).
  12. Releasing ‘The State of Young Child in India" report, Vice President said that while the Government of India has introduced several comprehensive policies and flagship programmes like the Integrated Child Development Scheme and the National Nutrition Mission ( Poshan Abhiyaan) for early childhood development in the country, the need of the hour is to implement them effectively through proper coordination among various ministries.