Fewest Of India’s Children Die In Kerala; Figures In Other States Far Worse

Kerala PM Modi Somalia Comparision BJP
Assam and Madhya Pradesh have India’s highest infant mortality rate. (Representational Image)

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently compared Kerala to Somalia in terms of infant mortality, triggering a political controversy – but data in this year’s economic survey, collated in 2013, says it happens to be the nation’s best at keeping its children alive.

In contrast, states like Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and even Gujarat actually lags far behind some of the African nations.

Kerala has an infant mortality rate of 12 – meaning 12 out of 1000 newborns do not survive till the age of one year. Somalia has a high rate of infant mortality — 85 in 1000.

At the other end of the spectrum are states whose children have it worse than their counterparts in Sudan. Assam and Madhya Pradesh have India’s highest infant mortality rate — 54. In Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, at least 50 newborns in 1000 die. The corresponding figure in Sudan is 48.

Rajasthan has an infant mortaliy rate of 47. Standing at 41, Haryana’s figures are the same as of Ethiopia. Bihar stands at 42 – the same as Senegal.

As many children die in West Bengal and Karnataka as in Rwanda – the figure is 31 in 1000.

But that’s still better than the industrialised state of Gujarat, which has an IMR of 36 — the same as Kenya and Uganda.

“This perception that Africa is worse in everything and we don’t deserve to be compared is wrong,” said Right to Food Activist Biraj Patnaik.

Gujarat’s Infant Mortality Rate is equivalent to that of Kenya and countries like Congo and Namibia have a better IMR than Gujarat.

“We fare worse than many African countries. So let’s reach where they have on malnutrition and IMR before trying to pretend we are a developed country,” he added.

The Prime Minister’s comparison has given political parties another reason to fight in poll-bound Kerala, where Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said PM Modi has hurt the sentiments of the people.

Addressing the media, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said, “In any social indicator, Kerala is number one. Far, far ahead of Gujarat. If Kerala is Somalia, Gujarat is probably worse than Afghanistan. Even by PM’s own outrageous standards, this is the limit.”

The BJP has defended the Prime Minister, saying his words were taken out of context.

“Right at the beginning of his speech, the PM said that Kerala is the most literate state in the country, and among the most developed.

But on some parameters, there were some issues and he was pointing those out,” said BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi.


  1. Lol, this is how pathetically media reports. Listen to Modi’s speech again , he clearly mentioned the mortality rate in the SC/ST areas of the state !

  2. I have nothing to comment on the subject of who being the best or who being the worst with respect to infant mortality, sex ratio, corruption etc…. but yes i feel very sad when the PM takes the pride in showing the Photoshop pic and malign its own country.
    Mr. PM is having the power to change the state of affairs of every state whether being ruled or in opposition. If still there is a deficiency in governance he should take pride in saying sorry for the dismissal state of affairs of the country and try to overcome the problems and not exaggerate the same.
    But who will make to understand a PM, who does not know when to speak what including Univ degree goof up. Some time back when watching rubaru program the PM stated categorically that he is not higher educated and now the degree…..

  3. i sincerely hope the author of this report had listened to the speech that the PM gave. He clearly stated that the infant mortality rate among the SC/ST in Kerala was similar to that of Somalia.. and not the infant mortality rate of Kerala as a whole..

    • PM Modi’s comments were totally uncalled for with out any data to support it. PM should have the courage to speak bold truth but at the same time he should also be willing to apologize for uttering nonsense.

    • Even if you look that data and compare apples to apples (SC/ST in Kerala vs other states), I don’t think this comparison holds good. Kerala has its own problems in terms infrastructure developments etc, but belittling various government policies that had contributed to the achievements in the human development factors in Kerala is nothing but political desperation from the PM.

    • Exactly. The stats that Modi quoted even about IMR among SC/STs is wrong. The actual data indicates that the rate is a lot less than in Somalia

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