State of India’s social development indicators…

A follow up to the previous post on microfoundations of India’s macroeconomic growth.

The economic survey has another interesting chapter – Human Development, Equity and Environment. In this a nice overview of India”s social development indicators is provided.

In sum, the indicators look really grim and we have a long way to go. Be it HDI, poverty ratios, healthcare etc we are ranked in the last decile in most of the country lists. I am not expanding on the numbers. There is not much to say there. However, the analysis  focuses on the percentages/ratios and shows the progress over the years. As population/GDP base has expanded the percentage numbers look much better. However, absolute number analysis should show better insights. Unless we see some substantial decline in absolute numbers, we cannot be sure.

. What is also interesting is how much our poverty numbers differ based on different studies. The variation is as high as 27.5% (by Plan Com) to 37.2% (Tendulkar commission) to 41.6%  (UNDP’s Poverty Index). Two more studies are underway (by Dr NC Saxena and SR Hashim) to look at BPL families in rural and urban areas respectively.  Saxena Commission has submitted its report and findings are there in the chapter.

Another continued surprise is the reported low inequality in India which is questionable prima facie . We have highest number of billionaires and also the highest poverty ratio in the world. Moreover, many above poverty ratio are just marginally above the poverty line. The moment you raise it a bit the poverty percentage rises significantly (see this paper). So it should be much worse than the reported figures. I need to read more on this to understand what is going on.

What is also interesting is the number of social development schemes we have. Just when you think you know them all, there are always a few more in the government list. So this paper/report is a nice way to understand/compile  most of the social development schemes. But then may be some are still left out.

There is a nice discussion at the end on climate change and its impact on India. Also covers the schemes announced by government for addressing climate change.


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