Alarmed at the poor health of women and children in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan announced the setting up of a task force to improve their condition. Nilofar Shaikh joins us with more post the release of UNICEF’s report-The State of the World’s Children 2009 at the hands of the Chief Minister. While Maharashtra has fared better than many other Indian states, the statistics are alarming-149 of every 1,00,000 women who go into labour die during childbirth, 65% of the total deaths of infants under five years of age occur within 28 days of them being born, and one-fifth of girls in the state are married before the age of 18. Hence, the Chief Minister Ashok Chavan wants to put into place a task force that would draw up an action plan aimed at tackling the issue of maternal and infant mortality within a set time frame. The state government plans to introduce nutrition banks at every district so that those wanting to contribute food for the welfare of children could drop it off there. He also said they would introduce creches where children below two years could be taken care of. Research shows that 80% of maternal deaths could be averted if women had access to essential maternity and basic healthcare services. However, looking at the past record of all that the state introduces time and again and miserably fails to achieve makes one wonder how much of the new plans will actually help improve the health conditions of women and children. Nilofar Shaikh – NMTV News.