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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

North India Human Development Report

HindustanTimes.com, PTI   February 05, 2003
First Published: 14:07 IST(25/1/2003) | Last Updated: 12:16 IST(5/2/2003)

North India Human Development Report
National Council of Applied Economic Research & Oxford
Non-fiction
Pages 347
Price: Rs. 495
Paperback

Over the last few years, Human Development Index has emerged as the most widely accepted way of measuring the progress of any nation, province or area. It has not just replaced earlier standards of measurement like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but by its complex system of computing parameters, managed to make other socio-economic factors count as well.

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Social indicators like literacy, infant mortality rate, incidence of poverty, access to primary health care and many other such indicators also help determine the actual material progress being made by any society over the years.

While the indicators available to date relate largely to nations, increasingly smaller units like provinces and districts are also being encouraged to measure these indicators. This book analyses these indicators in four states of north India, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

Though essentially a statistical report, the write-ups are a great help for those studying the subject. The introduction to each state, however, is brief. It is only when one looks at the 'Secondary Data' that a wealth of information comes pouring out.

Not just are the usual indicators like health and population measured, but also more detailed ones like enrolment and drop out rate of school students at different levels, fertility indices, pattern of work participation, number of dispensaries, health posts, sub-centres, community health centres etc. There are also tables with headings like 'Reasons like Non-adoption of Birth Control Measures by Population Group in rural Haryana' or 'Districtwise Workers in Urban Areas (Main and Marginal) as Percentage to Urban Population, Workers in Household Industry for Urban Areas as Percentage to Total Urban Main Workers, 1991"! Sounds boring, but immensely useful for someone looking for the information.

The measurement in each case is usually by district. Besides the tables, which provide the numbers, the text and maps provide ample support.

Also commendable are the village studies, which tend to humanize the figures, at least slightly. Whether it is the societies that have been set up, or the way water is used and distributed, or even the equipment a village school has for games, the information definitely helps break down the overpowering effect pages of numbers can have on most readers.

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