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Stress and the city: perils of prosperity

delhi Updated: Nov 17, 2010 13:22 IST

Hindustan Times
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Call it the flip side of a galloping economy, and the price urban Indians are paying for growing prosperity. Seventy seven per cent of Indians think more Indians are suffering from mental and stress-related problems.

And in an indication that increased wealth hasn't cut people off from their roots, almost two out of three respondents (63%) feel Indians need to be made spiritually aware. And yes, 45% feel that a higher income is the key to happiness in troubled times.

A Hindustan Times-CNN IBN survey conducted by research organisation C fore of 1,621 adults across eight cities found that an overwhelming majority of respondents (81%) — cutting across age groups and locations — felt that obesity was a major health issue and not just a cosmetic one.

But here's a wake-up call for the government — 46% of respondents feel the quality of health services in India are very bad (15%) or bad (31%). A further 32% were slightly more charitable, rating health services as average.

Chennai residents rated are the most satisfied. Only 27% rated health services as bad or very bad. Patna (bad + very bad: 61%), Bangalore (bad + very bad: 54%) and Chandigarh (bad + very bad: 53%) were the three cities where more than 50% gave an overwhelming thumbs down to health services.

Here's another telling statistic: 65% of Indians across all eight cities feel the private sector is better at delivering healthcare to people. And politicians trying to reach out to Young India will do well to note that this figure rises to 70% among people below 30.

And for those who feel today's Indians are a self-seeking lot, here's proof that they're wrong. The survey was conducted entirely in urban India, but 63% still feel rural health services should be the government's top priority. More telling is the finding that this figure is similar for both people below and above 30.

Our survey shows that Indians have a far better opinion on the quality of and access to education in this country. In fact, it's an almost equal three-way split between those who think it is bad or very bad, average and good or excellent.

Less than a third of respondents (32%) rate it as bad or very bad. A slightly larger number (34%) rate it as excellent or good. And 34% feel it is average.

Even here, though, a clear majority (55%) feel the private sector is better at providing education than the government. But among the metros, Kolkata is the only city where a majority disagreed with this proposition.

People want more investment in education infrastructure, but 65% want the government to give top priority to primary education. They know that that's where the pipeline that feeds the IITs and IIMs starts.