Jharkhand, carved out of the large state of Bihar in 2000, has a population of 32.9 million (Census 2011), living in about 120,000 dwellings, spread over 33,000 villages. About 38 per cent of the people in the state belonged to the disadvantaged communities of Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes. About 40 per cent of India’s mineral resources are in Jharkhand and it has a forest cover of 28 per cent. The state witnessed eight governments / chief ministers and three periods of President’s rule in the last 12 years from 2000.
The infant and under-five mortality in the state has shown a steady decline in the past few years. However, the rate of decline of newborn mortality is higher in districts with tribal communities. Gender discrimination is reflected in the care of newborn babies with fewer girls admitted to special newborn care units than boys. Though the maternal mortality rate has shown a decline, it is still above the national average and very high in Palamu and Santhal Pargana region.
Almost every second child in Jharkhand is stunted (low height for age), and three out of ten children are wasted (low weight for height). In terms of numbers, approximately two million children below age five are stunted in the state, which is the highest proportion of stunting next only to Bihar in the country.
Many hard to reach and inaccessible areas and non-availability of trained workforce, especially specialist doctors, is a major challenge for the state. Almost every third woman in the state is undernourished, and almost seven out of ten women in the reproductive age are anaemic. About 70 per cent of children aged 6-59 months suffer from anaemia.
As per Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)- MIS the state-wide coverage in rural sanitation coverage is now 100 per cent. With the changing pace, the foreseen challenge is to engage the community, generate demand and facilitate them to leap one step ahead on the sanitation ladder and sustain open defecation free (ODF) status. WASH in School/ Anganwadi (pre-school) is a key opportunity to encourage safe sanitation and hygiene practices among young children and through them to their families.
The state has made progress on access related goals, girls share proportionate enrolments at primary, upper primary as well as secondary levels. However, state battles many challenges. Low rates of retention and transition for both girls and boys continue to be major challenges. A substantial proportion of children attending government schools are first-generation learning and come from extremely poor communities. Many of these children also come from linguistically diverse backgrounds. To address their learning needs, schools must be responsive to the diversity of children.