Note: 1. *Latest available data is for the year 2007-08.
2. ** Latest data available is for the year 2006-07.
Although the Indian states have long shared common political institutions and national economic policies, there is wide diversity in other factors such as the level of human resource development, the quality of infra structure, the economic policy environment and the quality of governance.
There is an altogether different profile of India, a country with the largest number of poor and destitute in the world. India also accounts for the largest number of illiterates; and the largest number of unemployed. It has the largest number of anaemic women and children, and huge infant/child and maternal mortality. Indians constitute about 17 per cent of world population. But we account for about 35 per cent of the poor and 40 per cent of the illiterates in the world. There are more poor and illiterates today than at the time of independence sixty years ago. Our infant mortality is still about 60 per 1000 live births, which is one of the highest in the world. More than 50 per cent of Indian women and children are anaemic due to acute nutritional deficiency. India also experiences a high incidence of morbidity and mortality on account of various waterborne diseases, tuberculosis, diabetes, etc. These are not normal characteristics of a modern nation which is aspiring to be a world economic power. A decent society cannot be built on the ruins of hunger, our inherited past and the aspirations for the future are neglected beyond limit. As a result huge damage is done to their physical and mental health. If the trend continues, our chances of gaining from globalization on the strength of our human resources are slim.
As per the UNDP Human Development Report 2009 (HRD 2009), India ranked 134 out of 182 countries of the world placing it at the same rank as in 2006. However, the HDI value of India has increased gradually from 0.427 in 1982, 0.556 in 2000 and went up to 0.612 in 2007, but it is still in the medium Human Development category with even countries like China, Sri Lanka and Indonesia having better ranking (Table 5.6).
In fact India lags behind in various social indicators of development. There is a huge gap between India and developed world and even many developing countries. In respect of health and education, which needs to be bridged at faster pace. According to HDR, life expectancy at birth in India was 63.4 years in 2007 as against 80.5 years in Norway, 81.4 years in Australia 74.0 years in Sri Lanka and 72.9 years in China. Adult literacy rate (aged 15 and above) in 1999-2007 was 66.0 percent in India as against near 100 percent in China and 92.0 percent in Indonesia. In the case of combined gross enrolment ratio in education also India was much below the level achieved by some other comparable countries like China, Norway and Thailand etc.
Poverty is another major issue in India. In the country as a whole, the number of persons below the poverty line declined from 44.5 percent in 1993-94 to 36 percent in 1993-94 and to 26.10 percent in 1999-00 and increased to 27.5 percent in 2004-05. As per the official estimates, the incidence of poverty has declined over the years though it remains still at a very high level. However not only the rate is still high, but also the rate of decline in poverty has not accelerated along with the growth in the GDP.
Table: 5.7 Trends in poverty in India
Poverty (head count index) percentage
Number of Poor (million)
Source: Reserve Bank of India occasional papers.
Moreover, the absolute number of poor people below poverty line has declined only marginally from 320 million in 1993-94 to 302 million in 2004-05. This performance is all the more disappointing since the poverty line on which the estimate of the poor is based is the same as it was in 1973-74 when per capita incomes were much lower. If we take the World Bank measurement of poverty about 41.6 percent (as per PPP) of population is below poverty line which is much higher than the official national poverty ratio of about 28 percent. It can further be stated that around 80.0 percent of the poor are from rural areas.
From the table 5.8 it is clear that poverty is mostly concentrated in few states, viz Bihar (41.4 percent), Madhya Pradesh (38.3 percent), Maharashtra (30.7 percent), Odisha (46.4 percent) and Uttar Pradesh (32.8 percent). These states are among those which has higher poverty ratio than the national average of 27.5 percent in the year 2004-05. Poverty is concentrated among agricultural labourers, casual workers, schedule cast and Schedule Tribes.
The trend in the gender disparity is another important indicator of growth. India has made significant strides in terms of reducing the gender disparities as reflected in various indicators. For instance, the female life expectancy at birth, the female literacy level and the share of women employed in the non agricultural sector have improved since 1990. The male female literacy and literacy gap during the last two censuses across states are given in the table 5.9. Though the literacy gap across states has visibly come down over the decade, in many states and Union Territories, it is more than the national average. Literacy gap is highest among the North Indian states with the exception of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. However, for Punjab, the low literacy gap is more to do with the low literacy rates which is worrisome phenomenon considering that Punjab ranks in terms of per capita in NSDP.
Table: 5.10 Percentage of population living with housing amenities(Lighting.)