The economic survey has advocated greater investment in health and sanitation to achieve the objectives of a fitter and employable workforce, citing schemes such as Swachh Bharat Mission.
The 2014 Human Development Report presents the Human Development Index (HDI) values and ranks for 187 countries in terms of three basic parameters: to live a long and healthy life, to be educated and knowledgeable, and to enjoy a decent standard of living.
“India’s HDI value for 2013 is 0.586, positioning the country at 135 out of 187 countries and territories — the lowest among the BRICS countries,” the report said.
Prime Minister Modi’s reiterating the need for sanitation facilities time and again in his various public addresses has helped bought the focus back to an often neglected sector — building toilets and improving cleanliness back on government agenda.
In this context, the survey, tabled in Parliament on Friday, said that given the multiple determinants of health, it is “clear that a prevention agenda that addresses the social and economic environment requires cross-sectoral, multi-level interventions”.
Such an approach should involve sectors such as food and nutrition, education, drinking water and sanitation, housing, employment, industrial and occupational safety, welfare including social protection, family and community services, tribal affairs, and communications, it added.
The survey said that there was a “direct relationship” between water, sanitation, health, nutrition, and human well- being. It identified consumption of contaminated drinking water, improper disposal of human excreta, lack of personal and food hygiene, and improper disposal of solid and liquid waste as the major causes of diseases that have burdened the economy.