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India lags in human development index
Wednesday July 9, 2014 6:26 PM, IANS

India continued to perform below the global average in most human development index (HDI) indicators, including life expectancy at birth and per capita income, the Economic Survey for 2013-14 said Wednesday.

The Survey, presented in the Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said unleashing the the time-bound potential of demographic dividend was India's biggest challenge.

"India's performance continues to be below global average in most of the human development index indicators like life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling and even the per capita income," it said.

According to an official statement, Jaitley said "massive efforts" were needed in the form of investment in social infrastructure, skill development and empowerment of women.

The survey added that 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... This calls for massive investment in social infrastructure, skill development and empowerment of women," the survey said.

One of the challenges, the survey said, was to deal with multiple and sometimes overlapping programmes and that a mere mark up each year in the budget for existing programmes or starting some new ones would not suffice.

"What needed is 'zero budgeting' approach with a revamp, reorganisation and convergence of social-sector schemes with a minimum size prescribed for the schemes," the survey said.

The survey added that the outlays for different schemes have not often fully translated into outcomes owing to the poor delivery mechanism and said that leveraging modern technology can help create better delivery mechanisms.

The survey also called for the greater degree of accessibility to information for the public, especially about the role, rights and entitlements of the panchayati raj institutions.

"Focused attention on raising the awareness levels and capacity-building activities at gram sabha level and devolution of powers in real terms will lead to better and more effective planning, execution, monitoring and social audit of panchayat centric programmes." the survey said.

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