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Human development way behind growth

The government’s expenditure on social services and rural development has almost doubled in the past six years. But human development has failed to keep pace with economic growth, according to the Economic Survey 2009-10.

delhi Updated: Feb 26, 2010 01:03 IST
Swaha Sahoo

The government’s expenditure on social services and rural development has almost doubled in the past six years. But human development has failed to keep pace with economic growth, according to the Economic Survey 2009-10.

Expenditure on social services and rural development went up from 10.46 per cent of total expenditure in 2003-04 to 19.46 in 2009-2010. Education got the major share at 4.37 per cent, according to the survey tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

Expenditure on social services as a proportion of total expenditure increased from 19.9 per cent in 2004-05 to 21.6 per cent in 2009-10 (Budget Estimate). This means that the government now spends more money on social sector schemes — Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) or Education for All, Mid Day Meal Scheme, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

In education, for instance, 2.8 lakh new schools have been opened till September 2009 and 10.11 lakh teachers appointed under SSA.

During 2009-10, 4.34 crore households were provided employment under the Employment Act, the survey said.

But India’s rank in the Human Development Index (HDI) 2009 prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) points out gaping holes in the development story, especially in terms of gender parity, life expectancy at birth and health facilities.

Overall, the HDI for India in 2007 was 0.612 on the basis of which India ranked 134 out of 182 countries.

In terms of Gender Development Index, India ranked 114 out of 155 countries.

The survey points out that progress in health has been uneven across regions, with nine states reporting an infant mortality rate higher than the national average of 53 per 1,000 births in 2008.

It also quotes the Comptroller and Auditor General report on problems in NRHM such as lack of decentralised bottom-up planning, non-utilisation of grants and shortage of service providers at different levels. So, the challenge is to ensure better value for every rupee spent on development programmes.