Tuesday, 1 November 2011

ASSOCHAM seeks funds for health and education

BANGALORE: On October 31, the 7th billion baby was born in India. But with this number, industry experts and economists have raised concerns about the optimisation of available resources.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) has stated that India should allocate over six per cent of its budget in health and education sectors each with emphasis on quality and efficiency through public private partnership (PPP) model to control rising population and streamline the economic growth.
The country, with 1.2 billion people, is expected to overtake China around 2030 when the Indian population reaches 1.6 billion.
The population growth will mean a nation full of working-age youth, which could allow the already booming economy to maintain momentum. The chamber opined that India needs to generate almost 20 million jobs per year to eradicate unemployment. The agriculture and allied activities where two-thirds of people work is in a state of decline and earnings are meagre. The services sector ‘ led by information technology’ is fuelling India’s boom but not adding jobs on the scale that is needed.
“Efforts should thus be made to impart vocational training to enhance farming skills among the sizable rural workforce. At the same time, the government must speed up work on creating new manufacturing zones to create fresh job opportunities,” Secretary General D S Rawat said. Reflecting on the current scenario, the trade body said that the country invests only one per cent of GDP in primary healthcare centres and has an average of 0.6 doctors per 1,000 people against the global average of 1.23. The expenditure on education is 3.4 per cent of the GDP.
Authorities should adopt development measurement indicators like health per acre, nutrition per acre, effective education per acre and poverty dependency ratio per acre, he said.
Private sector can play supportive and innovative roles to solve India’s population woes and help evolve effective policies to deal with population crisis, he observed.

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