The number of poor may have declined but human development indices remain a key issue that India needs to address urgently, the Economic Survey said.
“The existing gap in health and education indicators in India as compared to the developed countries and also many of the developing countries highlights the need for much faster and wider spread of basic health and education,” the report said.
Life expectancy at birth in India was 65.8 years in 2012 against the global average of 70.1 years. Similarly, at 4.4 years, India’s performance in mean years of schooling is much lower than the global average of 7.5 years. It’s not only much below China, Brazil, Sri Lanka and Egypt, which have higher per capita income but also below that of Bangladesh and Pakistan that have lower per capita income than India.
According to the Human Development Report 2013, India is way down in the list with an overall ranking of 136 out of the 186 countries.
The report states that though India has a large and young population but this demographic dividend will benefit only if this population is educated, healthy and adequately skilled. “Massive investment in social infrastructure, skill development and empowerment of women is needed to reap the benefits of the time bound demographic dividend,” the report says.
The economic slowdown has had an adverse impact on the overall expenditure in the social sector. “Total government expenditure on social services including rural development and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana fell from 18% in 2010-11 to 15.79% in 2011-12 and 15.12% in 2012-13. It picked up to 16.70% in 2013-14.”