Socio Economic Indicators

The various socio-economic indicators of India that are responsible for human development are health and education under social indicators and general economy with reference to per capital income and poverty.

Health Situation in India

Health is one of the three dimensions of human development. Though under health life expectancy is considered as the indicator, other health related demographic indicators like birth rate, death rate, total fertility rate, infant mortality rate, etc as well as about health facilities like hospital, dispensary, beds in the hospital, number of doctors and nurses, etc. to have a holistic view about the health situation in the country. Definitely, today the health situation has improved a lot since Independence.

Today, there have been significant demographic changes and epidemological shifts have occurred. India has been able to control various communicable diseases.

However, under communicable diseases Vector Born Disease and AIDS continue to be critical areas of concern. With the decline in death rates, increase in life expectancy and changing life styles, there has been an increase in non-communicable diseases like cardio-vascular ailments, cancer, cataract induced blindness, diabetes, etc. In all the these, the disease of AIDS pose unique challenge, because no cure is available for till today.

Secondly, India ranks second in the world, next only to South Africa with an estimated population of 5.206 million persons infected by HIV/AIDS by December 2005. Recently, according to UNAIDS estimate, India has the largest number of HIV/AIDS population, surpassing South Africa. Though India is placed among the list of low prevalence country, our problem is the large population base, specifically in the active reproductive age group of 15-49 years.

There has been significant improvement in each health indicator. But the desired result has not been achieved in reducing birth rate, infant mortality rate as well as total fertility rate. There is a need for sustained effort particularly in remote rural areas where health care system is almost non-functional. As far as health care facilities in the country are concerned it has increased in leaps and bounds.

During 50 years (1951-2001) population has increased alarmingly from 36.10 crores to 102.70 crores. Simultaneously number of patients as well as problems related to birth, infant child and mother care has increased significantly. Therefore the health system is still at cross roads with a wide gap between demand and supply. Therefore the health system is still at cross roads with a wide gap between demand and supply.

Looking at the distribution of medical facilities we find there is highly unequal distribution and most of the facilities are concentrated around major cities and towns. To reduce the inequality Government of India started an ambition project of National Rural Health Mission. (NRHM). This programme was launched on April 12, 2005 for a period of 7 years. The vision and target outcome of NRHM is given below. A part from NRHM, Government of India has also launched many programmes related to health aspect of women and children like Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), Balika Samridhi Yojana (BSY) and Kishori Shakti Yojna (KSY) etc.

Knowledge Indicators

Knowledge is always considered as power that empowers human being in various ways. An individual with certain levels of knowledge will have economic freedom and will have wide choice for growth and development. Today’s society is moving towards knowledge society and a major chunk of population derived their sustenance that is based on knowledge economy. Due to these factors, knowledge was considered as one of the integral parts of human development index.

But knowledge is a qualitative aspect and has many dimensions to it. In HDI two dimensions of knowledge were taken into consideration. They are:

  1. adult literacy rate
  2. combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio

According to NSSO 52nd Round (1995-96) and as reported in selected Educational Statistics (1997-98), 54.38% of adults are literate. According to the Human Development Report 2005, the adult literacy in India, is 61.0% in 2003. But if we make state-wise analysis, the pattern has not changed much.

The regional pattern of adult literacy varies considerably. It may be observed that states below the national average are Bihar (including Jharkhand), Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (including Uttaranchal), Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh (including Chhatisgarh), Jammu and Kashmir and Orissa. Therefore, there is a need for improvement of adult literacy in these states.

Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER)

It indicates the proportion between the total number of learners in a particular age group that are supposed to be in that particular class and classes the total number of actual learners enrolled in that particular class/classes. Sometimes GER is more than 100% due to admission of below the age group and above the age group in that class/classes. In HDI, aggregate GER of primary, secondary and tertiary education is calculated.

According to Economic Survey, 2005-06 the GER has increased progressively from 32.1% in 1950-51 to 84.91 in 2003-04 in the age groups of 6-14 (from Ist to Vth class). Simultaneously drop-out rates at primary level declined from 39.0% in 2001-02 to 31.4% in 2003-04.

As on October 2005, number of out of school children, as reported by states/UTs was reduced to 95 lakh from 320 lakh in 2001. But still 95 lakh out of school children at primary level is a very high number. If we look at state-wise GER, it has been found that it varies from 116.77% in Manipur to 55.82% in Bihar. The states which have GER below the national average are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Nagaland.

To improve the educational attainment particularly enrollment and retention at elementary level and reduce the adult illiteracy Government of India has started various new programmes and also strengthened existing programmes.

Economic Indicators

Human development has also placed a great significance to economic productivity and growth. This provides means to progress apart from education and health. Economic growth is generally found out with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross National Product (GNP), per capita income, etc.

According to Economic Survey 2005-06, per-capita income has increased from Rs 3,687 in 1950-51 to Rs 19,649 in 2004-05. Though per-capita income has increased significantly but disparities are very wide both at region level and local levels. Even at the rural and urban levels there exists very high disparity in per capita income. Such variation is also reflected through those persons who are below the poverty line.

Poverty is not only an economic phenomena but also social and psychological deprivation. This is reflected through poor quality of life, malnutrition, low human development, etc. According to Planning Commission estimate in 1999-2000, there were 26.10% of population living below poverty line. This ratio is 27.09% in rural areas and 23.62% in urban areas.

While rural poverty is linked with landless and marginal farmers, urban poverty is expressed in terms of sprawling slums in cities. The states with population below the poverty line from the national average include Orissa, Bihar (including Jharkhand), Madhya Pradesh (including Chhatisgarh), Uttar Pradesh (including Uttarakhand), all the north-eastern states except Mizoram and West Bengal.