Madhya Pradesh is the second largest state by area and is also home to the largest tribal population (21.09 per cent of population as per Census 2011). More than 60 per cent of the Scheduled Tribes (ST) live in rural areas and are below the poverty line. As per Sample Registration System (SRS), 2015, the state has the third highest neonatal mortality rate contributing to over 50 per cent.
Gender inequity is a major concern in child survival, which is reflected in the higher under-five mortality for girls, it is also reflected in fewer female newborns being admitted to the special newborn care units than boys.
As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), the state has a high stunting rate of 42 per cent that is 3.3 million children under age five are stunted and 2.7 million children under age five are wasted. Over the past decade the state has witnessed a 29 per cent reduction in underweight. In 2018, the state initiated the implementation of POSHAN Abhiyaan - mission mode to address nutrition issues in sync with national mission addressing all forms of undernutrition.
Although the enrolment rates for elementary school are high, the learning achievement surveys show that learning levels in the early grades are poor, and it is estimated that 450,952 children are out of school, the majority being from marginalized families. The annual average dropout rate at the upper primary level is 7.6 per cent, which is higher than the national average of 5.6 per cent (Source: District Information System for Education 2016-2017).
The state ranks third in the country for crimes committed against children and gender-based violence is on the rise with the state recording the second highest number of rape cases committed against children during 2016 (National Crime Records Bureau, 201). As per Census 2011 approximately 700,000 children aged 5-14 years are child workers.
Almost every third household does not have access to a toilet, over 50 million people in the state still practice open defecation. The state is vulnerable to natural disasters, including droughts. The Bundelkhand region is the most vulnerable to chronic droughts.
The state, however, faces challenges in ensuring inclusive equity and sustainable quality in its service delivery mechanisms. Madhya Pradesh has committed to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focusing on eliminating disparities and exploitation of marginalized populations by adopting a three-pronged strategy of social empowerment, economic empowerment and social justice.