The economic growth and development has become a miraculous peak that keeps increasing its level. Once you reach at some height, the echo from another peak of ‘catch me if you can’ would start floating. It is good and necessary for every country for its obvious advantages. Amartya Sen rightly says (in the context of india) that average incomes must be raised to achieve reasonable living standard and extensive income redistribution alone would not be enough for shared well being. The useful advices keep coming in that are important for India’s scenario. But, what is the direction and outcome of this growth? We are still one of the poorest countries in the world (despite the presence of some handful world class living standards). There must be something which ought to be covered behind the increasing per capita income. There must be some reason why countries like Bangladesh and Nepal have better human development ranks. Yes. The reason is the ignorance of non- economic development indicators like fertility rates, child survival, maternal mortality rate and sex ratio. Though the goal of improvement in the social indicators must be non- negotiable, but it keeps happening. While the international standard is to invest 3% of the GDP on health and 6% of the same on education, the data for India is 1.2% and around 3.5% respectively for the same. The problem of under nutrition, power supply, unavailability of health facilities do not seem as problems once one sees government offices, big hotels and restaurants. The policy makers are always attracted to the private sector whether it is healthcare or education facilities.
The worst scenario can be seen as the neglect of women health in India. Whether it is the issue of preference for male child or depressing women’s bodily dignity, integrity and autonomy, there is a marked inequity, injustice. Then why doesn’t the economic productivity of women taken care of in this capitalistic word? It is equally important to the per capita income. The womes’s lives are not only caring, cleaning and cooking. Atevery stage, she is the recipient of injustice and insecurity. The nutrition is not given equally to male and female child just because sons are important for income and old age. Daughters don’t receive education as it is considered like investing for one’s neighbours’ benefit. Ultimately, she has to go somewhere else. The famly wants children to be reproduced, specifically sons, but the required nutrition would not be provided to the potential mothers. Above all, if the child is female, she should not born. With these disparities, it is irrelevant that the country might approach two-digit growth in coming years. Where a woman on death bed says: I want to live (December 16), it is shameful for all of us who aspire for a new step on the growth ladder. It is necessary to understand that that 946:1000, 32.7% of the total population below poverty line would always push you back on human Development Index. We have moved away from the stage that needed to acknowledge these problems. It is the time to take actions beyond papers. It is the undermining of growth values that a farmer’s wife get 400gm of grains to cook while a criminal’s wife gets 900gm of the same (P. Sainath). We all know why the dropout from schools is higher among girls, why is maternal mortality rate increasing, why are the policies not helpful to reduce poverty?
The demand of the hour is not to negotiate with these important development indicators but to negotiate with the policies and strategies so as to observe tangible changes. It would add more stars to our economic growth.