[Editorial Analysis] Fissures amidst growth

Mains Paper 2: Social Justice

Prelims level: Female foeticide and infanticide

Mains level: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Context

• India is now among the fastest-growing large economies of the world.

• We clocked 7 per cent real GDP growth during October-December 2017; followed by 7.7 per cent in January-March 2018 and then 8 per cent in April to June 2018.

• Far more worrisome are some serious fractures that have emerged and show no signs of healing.

• We discuss four such: Female foeticide and infanticide; Failure of education; Rising inequalities; and Huge economic differences between regions of the country.

• With a sex ratio of 775 girls of 0-6 years for every 1,000 boys as per the 2011 Census, Mahendragarh is the nastiest district in India in the worst state of the country for female foeticide and infanticide.

• Simply put, much of north India, western UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the northern part of Madhya Pradesh rampantly engage in ultrasonography to detect and then illegally abort female fetuses.

• Despite tough laws against sex-determination and female foeticide, there is no police action to speak of.

Failure of education:

• According to the 2011 Census, 14 per cent of men aged 25-34 years hadn’t studied beyond class 10, 11.5 per cent hadn’t progressed beyond Class 12 and only 14.6 per cent were graduates.

• According to the Annual Status of Education Report for 2017, 25 per cent of rural students of 14-18 years could not read basic text fluently in their own language.

• Over 50 per cent struggled with dividing three-digits by one-digit.

Rise in inequalities:

• Though there are over 240 million desperately poor people in the country, poverty has clearly reduced in both rural and urban India.

Districts being left behind:

• Pucca house, electricity, latrine, separate bathroom, bank account, television, phone, two-wheeler and LPG connection.

• Based on these, one can construct a ranking of each district of India, from the “richest” to the “poorest”. What do we see?

Way forward

• The north (Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Western UP), the irrigated parts of Rajasthan, most of Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra, Goa, parts of Karnataka, most of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, all of Kerala and much of Tamil Nadu do well.

• These are some of our fractures that we should fear. And so fearing, work on fixing them.

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