Is India Growing Economically? Ask Amartya Sen

Very recently, we have gone through a write up by Amartya Sen in the Hindu, which revealed the much hyped economic growth of India in a very new light. If you are one among those who are greatly convinced by the increased speculations of India surpassing China’s Gross National Product (GNP), then this is a must read. The write up on the whole, greatly highlights how the growth in GNP has to be viewed in the present conditions.

His pointed out that growth in GNP alone should not be the ultimate objective of comparison and the education, basic health and life expectancy determines the well-being of the country, making us realize where our country stands in improving the quality of living standards. The above point is very intelligently illustrated by comparing our country with our very own neighbors, China and Bangladesh. His main intention of this comparison was just to make every citizen in India, perhaps the Indian policy makers, to realize where actually the real development of India lies.

The comparative study actually gives valuable insights on the standards of living in India. His selection of parameters for comparison greatly signifies where we actually stand in terms of creating value for ourselves.

Parameters India China Bangladesh
GNP 8% (Rs. 3,250 per capita) 10% Rs. 1,550 per capita
Life expectancy at birth 64.4 years 73.5 years 66.9 years
Infant mortality 50 per thousand 17 per thousand 41 per thousand
Under 5 mortality 66% 19% 52%
Under nourishment 43.50% Very low percentage 41.30%
Literacy rate for adults 65% 94% Lower than India
Literacy rate for women (15-24 years) Below 80% 99% Higher than India
Mean years of schooling 4.4 years 7.4 years 4.8 years
DTP vaccination 66% 97% 94%

The above statistics, speak for themselves. India being very much ahead of Bangladesh in terms of GNP is actually a way behind in enhancing the provision of most basic privileges to the common man. The other important point mentioned by him was how China spends 1.9% of its GDP on healthcare, where the same is just 1.1% in India. The article also says how this resulted in exploitation of uneducated citizens by private health care centers. This situation is very alarming and these social sectors need to be attended immediately.

The greatest ever economist produced by India expressed his views on how the fruits of economic growth are misused in India for the privileged society of the country who needs no social assistance, unlike China and Bangladesh, who used them for eradicating the indicators of poverty and deprivation and thereby enhancing the living standards.

Finally, the whole situation in India currently shows lack of responsibility on part of our politicians, who instead of being shameful of the very condition are actually celebrating the growth.

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