The Uttar Pradesh government may be spending nearly Rs 1500 crore on memorials and parks, but it has not been able to provide clean drinking water to even 10 per cent of its 18 crore population.
And sure enough Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday, albeit unintentionally, put the Uttar Pradesh government to much embarrassment when he chose to talk extensively about the country's most populous state's extremely poor score on various health counts.
Addressing the annual convocation of Chattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University -- also known as the erstwhile King George's Medical College (KGMC) -- in Lucknow, he lamented: "Less than 10 per cent households in Uttar Pradesh have access to piped drinking water, 33 per cent have access to toilet facility, 42 per cent receive electricity. The national average stands at 42 per cent, 45 per cent and 68 per cent respectively."
According to him, "Around half the women in 15-50 age group and 85 per cent of children under 3 years of age suffer from anaemia and nearly 50 per cent of UP's children are stunted and underweight."
He went on to add, "Less than 25 per cent of the kids had received complete immunization."
Expressing concern over the life expectancy that was quoted as only 56 years as against 74 years in Kerala, Ansari lamented, "UP's infant mortality stood at 73 per cent as compared to the all India average of 57 per cent."
"These figures have national relevance since Uttar Pradesh is home to one-sixth of the nation's population," he said.