Massive investment needed in social infrastructure, empowerment of women: Jaitley
The Economic Survey 2013-14 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as precursor to the 2014-15 General Budget presents an analysis of India's human development basic parameters and gives a new impetus to growth along with targeted policies aimed at both financial and social inclusion.
It has listed that India's performance continues to be below global average in most of the HDI indicators like life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling and even per capita income.
The Economic Survey says, massive efforts are needed in the form of investment in social infrastructure, skill development and empowerment of women.
Among the outlook and challenges for the social sector outlined in the Economic Survey are as follows:-
. The outlook for India on the human development front could be positive given the large demographic dividend waiting to be tapped. This demographic dividend will benefit India if its population is healthy, educated and adequately skilled.
. Unleashing the time-bound potential of demographic dividend is the biggest challenge for India. This calls for massive investment in social infrastructure, skill development and empowerment of women.
. One of the challenges is to deal with multiple and sometimes overlapping programmes. A mere mark up each year in the Budget for existing programmes or starting some new programmes will not suffice. What is needed is a 'zero budgeting' approach with a revamp, reorganization and convergence of social-sector schemes with a minimum size prescribed for the schemes.
. The outlays for the different schemes have not often translated fully into outcomes owing to the poor delivery mechanism.
. Leveraging modern technology for efficient delivery of programmes, removing the multiple layers of governance, simplifying procedures, and greater participatory role by the beneficiaries can help in creating a better delivery mechanism.
. There is a need for greater degree of accessibility to information for the public, especially about the role, rights, and entitlements of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
. Focused attention on raising the awareness levels and capacity-building activities at gram sabha level and devolution of powers in real terms, i.e. funds, function, and functionaries to the PRIs will lead to better and more effective planning, execution, monitoring and social audit of panchayat centric programmes.
(Posted on 09-07-2014)