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Social Sector Scenario of India after the Economic Reforms

(T. Maheswari, Asst. Professor in Economics, Lady Doak College, Madurai, Tamil Nadu)

Introduction
Social sector comprising of sub-sectors like Education, Health and Medical Care, Housing and
Water Supply is very essential for the economic development of any State. Social development
paves the way for economic development. Most of the Social Sector subjects fall within the
purview of the States, for which funding is provided through the Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
The Government plays a very significant part in the development of the Social Sector. Now we
are ready to welcome to 12th five year plan, In this backdrop this paper examines the situation of
social sector and expenditure made on social sector in India.

Objectives and Methodology:


The objectives of this paper are (1) to assess the performance in the social sector viz., Education,
Health, Nutrition, Housing, food security and Poverty situation in India. And (2) to analyse the
social sector spending in India. The data were collected from various NSS rounds, SocioEconomic Statistics, Indiastat.com etc. This study is confined to the post- reform period only.
Situation of poverty in India:
Table 1: Percentage of People below poverty line in India
Year

% of people BPL
Rural

Urban

Combined

1987-88

39.09

38.20

38.86

1993-94

37.27

32.26

35.97

1999-2000

27.09

23.62

26.10

2004-05

28.3

25.7

27.5

Source: Various NSS Rounds

Poverty is the syndrome for India since independence. It is revealed from the data of various NSS
rounds that poverty rate has reduced from 38.86% of BPL in 1987-88 to 27.5% in 2004-05. Yet in
the year 1999-2000 it was only 26.1%. Though India has experienced various poverty alleviation
schemes it could not be able to eradicate poverty. From various studies relating to evaluation of
poverty eradication programmes, it is revealed that there is lack of good monitoring

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system and the neglect of agricultural sector development. It is suggested that the poverty
alleviation programmes should be of agricultural oriented and agricultural-friendly.

Development of Education in India:


Table 2: Pupil-teacher ratio in schools in India
Year

Primary
(I-V)

Middle (VIVIII)

Secondary
(IX-XI)

1991-92

44

38

32

1992-93

43

38

31

1993-94

41

37

30

1994-95

44

40

30

1995-96

43

37

32

1996-97

43

37

32

1997-98

42

37

32

1998-99

42

37

31

1999-00

43

38

32

2000-01

43

38

32

2001-02

43

34

34

2002-03

42

34

33

2003-04

45

35

33

2004-05

46

35

33

2005-06

46

34

32

2006-07

44

34

31

2007-08

47

35

37

Source: Socio-Economic Statistics of India, 2011, RBI

It is portrayed that the pupil-teacher ratio in all the levels is more or less stagnant over the postreform period. But the ratio is high; one of the reasons is that most of the primary schools in the
villages are single-teacher school. Though it is consistent the strength per teacher should be
further reduced in order to attain the qualitative education not only the quantitative educational
development.
Table 3: Literacy rates as estimated through surveys (percentage)
period

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Literacy rate

1993-94

56

1995-96

59

1997-98

62

1999-2000

62

2004-2005

64

2011*

74.04

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Source: Various NSS rounds *


Population Census-2011

It was shown that there is improvement in the literacy rate of India after the reforms. But at the
same time it needs to be accelerated by facilitating the educational sector with adequate physical
and human infrastructures.
Even though there is a right to education, it was revealed from the table-4, we failed to achieve
cent percent of enrollment in the age group of 11-14 years. There are two reasons for that, in
many of the villages schools are only at the primary level and parents were also not allow this age
group of people to school and make them as a wage earner of the family. There is a need of
policy measure to overcome these two problems.
Table 4: Gross Enrolment as percentage to the total population by age and sex
Year

Age ( 6-11 years)

Age (11-14 years)

Male

Female

Person

Male

Female

Person

1991-92

112.8

86.9

100.2

75.1

49.6

61.4

1992-93

95

73.5

84.6

72.5

48.9

67.5

1993-94

89.6

73.1

81.7

67.1

49.2

58.2

1994-95

96.6

78.2

87.7

68.9

50

60

1995-96

97.1

79.4

88.6

67.8

49.8

59.3

1996-97

97

80.1

88.8

65.8

49.2

58

1997-98

99.3

82.2

91.1

66.3

49.7

58.5

1998-99

100.9

82.8

92.1

65.3

49.1

57.6

1999-00

104.1

85.2

94.9

67.2

49.7

58.8

2000-01

104.9

85.9

95.7

66.7

49.9

58.6

2001-02

105.3

86.9

96.3

67.8

52.1

60.2

2002-03

97.5

93.1

95.4

65.3

56.2

61

2003-04

100.8

95.7

98.3

66.9

57.7

62.5

2004-05

110.7

104.7

107.8

74.3

65.1

69.9

2005-06

112.2

105.8

109.4

75.2

66.4

71

2006-07

114.6

108

111.4

77.6

69.7

73.8

2007-08

115.3

112.6

114

81.5

74.4

78.1

Enrolment Ratios in 6-11 age group are more than 100. It may be due to the fact that there may be
many students outside the age-group 6-11 enrolled in classes I V.
Source: Socio-Economic Statistics of India, 2011, RBI

Food and Nutritional Security in India:

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Table 5: Per Capita per Day Net Availability of Cereals and Pulses in India
Year

Percapital availability of food grains / day (in grams)


Cereals

Pulses

Total

1991

468.5

41.6

510.1

1993

427.9

36.2

464.1

1995

457.6

37.8

495.4

1997

466

37.1

503.1

1999

429.2

36.5

465.7

2001

386.2

30

416.2

2003

408.5

29.1

437.6

2005

390.9

31.5

422.4

2007

407.4

35.5

442.8

2009

407

37

444

Source: www.indiastat.com

Since India attained self-sufficiency in agriculture, the per capita availability of food grains was in
very worst situation. It is in alarming state, as it was 510.1 grams in the year 1991 and it was
reduced to 444 grams in the year 2009. Though we have various food security programmes,
there is need of long-lasting and opt strategy for improving our food security and nutritional
security situation.
Table 6: Nutritional Status of India
Year

Proteins

Calories

(Grams)

(Kilo Calories)

1991-92

54.1

2139

1993-94

55.8

2187

1994-95

55.8

2172

1996-97

54.0

2114

2001d

50.7

1955

2004-05

57.0

2033

2005-06

49.4

1834

Source: Annual Reports of National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB), National


Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.

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The above table shows that the nutritional status of India. It is clearly stated that the nutritional
situation in India is worsening after the reform. Since we had lot of nutritional security
programmes, we could not able to find the positive impact of these programmes on Indian people.

Situation of Health in India:


Table 7: Infant Mortality Rate in India

Survey

IMR
Rural Urban

Combined

NFHS-I

85

56

79

NFHS-II

73

47

68

NFHS-III

62

42

57

Source: NFHS Surveys

Infant Mortality Rate is the best indicator of health. It was inferred that the IMR was very
high compared to rural area. It may be due to the lack of health infrastructures in Rural
area and the nutritional deficiency of rural women. The combined Infant mortality rate
has also to be reduced in order to attain the target fixed under the Millennium
Development Goals of UNDP.
Table 8: Institutional Deliveries in India
Survey
Institutional deliveries
Rural

Urban
58

Combined

NFHS-I

17

26

NFHS-II

25

65

34

NFHS-III

31

69

41

It was inferred that in this 21st century also, nearly 59% of deliveries are unsafe in India and it was
also very shock to see that only 31% of institutional deliveries in Rural India, there is huge gap
between rural and urban. There is a need of full-fledged operation of Primary health care centres
in Rural India and there is also need of road-connectivity to all rural areas in order to avail the
hospital facilities.
Scenario of Housing in India:

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Table 9: Housing Amenities in India


Percentage of households that:

Total

Urban

Rural

Have electricity

67.9

93.1

55.7

Use piped drinking water

42.0

71.0

27.9

Have access to a toilet facility

44.5

83.1

25.9

Live in a pucca house

41.4

74.1

25.5

Source: NFHS-III

Though we have gone through 11 five year plans, we were not able to provide toilet
facility for 56% of Indian people. In India nearly 42% of people live in a pucca house and many of
Indian people were also homeless. It is also evident that nearly 93% of urban people have
electricity and in rural it was only 67.9%. It is revealed that in all the amenities rural people are
deprived.
The Overall Picture from Multi dimensional Poverty Index of India:
Table 10: Multi dimensional poverty Index of India (2000-2008)
Multi dimensional poverty
index

0.29

Head count ratio (%)

55.4

Intensity of deprivation(%)

53.5

Population at risk of multi


dimensional poverty(%)

16.1

Population with at least

Education(%)

37.5

one severe deprivation in

Health(%)

56.5

Living standard(%)

58.5

PPP US$1.25 a(%)


Day

41.6

National poverty
line (%)

28.6

Population in multidimensional poverty

Population below
income poverty line

Source: Human

Development Report, 2010

It is evident from the multi-dimensional poverty index constructed by UNDP, more than half of the
Indian population is deprived in health and living standard. It is the very worst situation need to be
addressed. The other thing to be noted that as per the poverty line only 28.6% of the people are
below poverty line at the same time as per UNDP measurement it is 41.6%. Though we had
various revisions in the measurement of poverty line, there is a wide gap between UNDP data
and our national data. The above table shows the real picture of the social sector development in
India. It was a known and hidden fact that there is neglect of the social sector in the post reform
period.

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Social Sector Expenditure in India:


Table 11: Social Sector Expenditure in India
Year

Expenditure on
Social Sector

Aggregate
Expenditure

% share of Social
Sector Expenditure

1990-91

91,088

35,132

38.57

1991-92

107929

39,255

36.37

1992-93

119335

44,468

37.26

1993-94

133849

49,451

36.95

1994-95

159147

55,143

34.65

1995-96

174632

63,975

36.63

1996-97

199254

71,896

36.08

1997-98

223924

81,427

36.36

1998-99

261419

98,127

37.54

1999-00

307977

1,13,690

36.92

2000-01

339835

1,24,919

36.76

2001-02

368680

1,29,253

35.06

2002-03

410249

1,33,648

32.58

2003-04

514302

1,46,164

28.42

2004-05

553428

1,64,077

29.65

2005-06

561682

1,89,430

33.73

2006-07

657280

2,22,988

33.93

2007-08

752324

2,65,466

35.29

2008-09

940423

3,59,849

38.26

2009-2010

1055778

4,16,395

39.44

Source: Socio-Economic Statistics of India, 2011, RBI

Public expenditure on the social sector is essential to attain the social as well as economic
development of the country. It was portrayed that the share of social sector expenditure to the
aggregate expenditure of India was 38.57% and it was only 39.44% in the year 2009-2010. It
reveals that the expenditure on social sector in India is stagnant over the post-reform period. And
it was noted that it was only 29.65% in the year 2004-05 and 28.42% in the year 2003-04. It was
very low in the entire study period. It should be raised in order to attain higher human
development.

Suggestions:
Need of agricultural oriented and agricultural development poverty alleviation
programmes as most of the people below poverty line depend upon agriculture

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Effective monitoring system for social sector development programmes in order to attain
the target fixed in the plans
Need of revised food and nutritional security programmes.

Adequate human resources are required in health and education sectors and
strengthening of infrastructural development is also needed.

Social sector spending should assume a greater percentage of GDP.

Conclusion:
Indians are good planners but not good implementers. Though we had lot of programmes and
plans for a social sector development there is no real improvement in the social sector in India.
Only an increase in the economic growth is not a development of the whole nation, actually it is
the development only for few people. There is a need for sustainable and inclusive strategy for
social sector of India in order to achieve real development not mere numbers and targets.
References:
1) Pravas Mishra (2010), An Analysis of Orissa (India) Budget during 1990-91 to 2008-09,
www.cysd.org.
2) Government of India, Selected Socio Economic Statistics, India 2011.
3) Kamble, P. S (2010), Implications of Social Sector Development by Government in
India. Cyber Literature, Vol: 3 Issue: 2.
4) Panchamukhi, P.R.(2000), Social Impact of Economic Reforms in India: A Critical
Appraisal Economic and Political Weekly, Vol: 35 No: 10.

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