Improvement in the social sectors such as primary education, universal public health, foods guarantee for all and rural telecommunications are must and these are causing the key reasons for the suffering of the nation.
To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, besides a number of other such goals must be on priority agenda.
The Indian economy is developing at a rapid pace. This is very important to achieve all the goals. But what is needed now is increased investment targeted at some of the specific goals of health, water and nutrition.
If these investments can be made, then India can really achieve all the goals. India is on the path of eliminating extreme poverty but it has to make an added effort to do that.
The Planning Commission makes public investment strategy. But the question remains whether these strategies are sufficiently bold to achieve the breakthrough listed in development goals.
In some areas, the answer is yes, but in some areas the answer is vague. Public health is still way behind. There is a lot of work to be done in this sector.
Alleviating just one aspect of poverty can never serve the purpose. For example, you we invest heavily in rural primary schools, but if the poor are too ill or unhealthy due to lack of investment in public health, they won't attend the schools.
So there has to be a balance. Now India is spending around 4 per cent of its gross national product on education. That is a reasonable sum. But it is spending only one per cent of its GNP on public health, and that is not enough. This is a dramatic under-investment. This has to rise significantly.
Clearly, India has to invest more in rural infrastructure. We need to make estimates to ensure that every village will have adequate safe drinking water, and roads leading to major highways which are yet to be seen.
The bills of... [continues]
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