15 September 2010

Education, Health and Infrastructure in India

In the previous post we identified the key ingredients of economic growth and development. The first/top three are:
1. Education
2. Health
3. Infrastructure

Education-health-infrastructure (E-H-I) – this is the "mantra" for development according to the current discourse in books, newspapers and magazines. Sounds like common sense, doesn't it? Well, not exactly.

It turns out this "common sense" (E-H-I) is a specific school of thought in development economics – the "market-friendly" school. And the market-friendly school/approach in turn is a branch of a broader school of thought – the "neo-classical revolution" of the 1990s.

Anyway, if we accept the E-H-I formula, the questions arises: E-H-I for whom? and where? The discussion/debate on economic policies in India takes place mainly in the English-language media (ELM). This ELM is by and for the middle class of the metros – the metro middle class (MMC). Now the "India" of the ELM and MMC consists of just the 8 metros. So when the ELM says "E-H-I", what it really means is E-H-I for the metros.

So "education" means more IITs and IIMs. "Health" means more super-speciality hospitals. And "infrastructure" means more international airports. This is what education, health and infrastructure mean to the MMC and its mouthpiece, the ELM.

But the metros account for only 7% of India's population. The vast majority of India – 70% – lives in villages. So that is where we must focus. Thus "education" means not more IITs and IIMs, but more primary schools in villages. "Health" means not more super-speciality hospitals, but more clinics in villages. And "infrastructure" means not more international airports – but drinking water, sanitation, roads and electricity for India's 6,00,000 villages.

All this is nothing but rural development.


preeti said...

Great Post. As we all know that 70% of Indian Population leaves in Villages and depends on Agriculture. Now India is a biggest Economic Power.

Best Regards
Aluminium Alloy manufacturers

nano said...

India is one of fast growing nation of the world. Leaving standard has gone up in India, not only in cities but in villages too. Indian govt. has take major steps.