With the gradual fall of crude birth and death rates, the country expects to lower its infant mortality rate to below 30 per 1,000 live births by 2012, although block and village level annual plans have not been prepared for 24 States and UT, the Economic Survey said.

India has successfully brought down its crude birth rate (CBR) to 22.8 in every 1,000 people from 29.5 in 1991, this led to decrease in crude death rate (CDR) to 7.4 from 9.8 in 1,000 people in the same period, the pre-budget Survey tabled in Parliament on Thursday said.

Under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), which was launched in 2005, infant mortality rate (IMR) is expected to fall below 30 in every 1,000 live births, it added.

The current IMR stands at 53, substantially lower than the figure of 80 in 1991, it added.

However, as per a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, NRHM suffers from certain weakness that needs to be addressed to make the scheme more beneficial, the survey said.

“The NRHM initiated decentralised bottom-up planning. However, district-level annual plans were not prepared during 2005-08 in nine states and in 24 States/UTs, block and village -level annual plans had not been prepared at all,” it added.

Village-level health and sanitation committees were still to be constituted in nine states. “Funds for local action through untied grants and annual maintenance grants to health centres remained mostly unspent... the committee on inter- sectoral convergence did not meet frequently.” it said.

Besides, according to 2001 population norms, there is a shortage of 20,486 sub-centres, 4,477 primary health centres and 2,337 community health centres across the country. Also about 29 per cent of the existing health infrastructure is in rented buildings.

“India fares poorly in most of the indicators in comparison with a number of developing countries like China and Sri Lanka. In addition, the progress in health indicators has been quite uneven across regions, gender as well as space,” the survey stated.

However, despite all these lacunae, the total life expectancy at birth has increased to 63.5 years between 2002-06 from 59.4 years in 1989-93.

Some of the major initiatives by the government in the healthcare sector include Janani Suraksha Yojana to lower maternal mortality rate (MMR) by ensuring that deliveries were conducted by skilled birth attendants. NRHM targets to bring the MMR to below 100 per one lakh live births by 2012 from 254 in 2004-06.

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana was launched with the objective of correcting regional imbalance in availability of affordable and reliable healthcare services in the country.

It also aims to augment facilities for quality medical education.

Besides, the government is investing Rs. 11,585 crore for implementation of National AIDS Control Programme-III in 2007 -12. As per estimates, over 23 lakh people were living with HIV/AIDS in India in 2007.