Quote by J.R.D. Tata “I do not want India to be an economic power. I want India to be a happy country.”
On one hand we are witnessing mushrooming of malls in almost all cities across India, which depicts the economic development and enhanced purchasing power of Indians and on the other hand number of poor and beggars are increasing which show our under performance in human development. This is a very obvious contrast that can be seen anywhere in India. Do not think that quality of life has nothing to do with the performance of the country as it along with GDP affects the overall growth.
All of us know that India is the most sought after business destination for many global conglomerates but when we talk through the quality of life in Indian cities, then we fall short of words as we do not have much to say about this.
The quality of life plays a major role in the performance of any country. Hence performance of any country is not just its economic development but also its social development. Overall performance is measured by the GDP and the Human Development Index (HDI).But what are these terms? HDI is the well being, standard of living and quality of life of citizens where as GDP is the income measurement. No doubt that GDP of India is growing rapidly and this is a matter of proud but still we lack on HDI front. According to India’s Human Development Report by UN, India needs to work on HDI as we rank 134 among 187 countries.
Mercer Human Resource Consulting has conducted a Worldwide Quality of Living survey. In this it has been stated that two of the most prominent cities in India viz Delhi and Mumbai are very low in ranking and these are even after Colombo and Dakar. In this survey Bangalore has been ranked at 153 and Chennai 160. At present there are about 240 million people in India who are living a poor quality of life.
We always compare India with other countries especially China on economic development but such comparisons are seldom done for factors such as life expectancy, education level, daily life of a person etc. The World Bank and the United Nations reports show that Life expectancy at birth in China is 73.5 years whereas in India it is 64.4 years. Then India has more infant mortality rate, mortality rate of children under five, and maternal mortality rate as compare to China. Also statistics for years of schooling, and adult literacy are more in China.
No doubt that economic development is a must for any country and individual, as this uplifts the quality of life, but along with this we need to work hard on human development sector. There are many factors that lead to the advancement in living standard but one major among these is how government is going to utilize that extra income which has come from the economic development. But with the increase in corruption there is a poor utilization of money in India. Everyone is busy filling their own pockets rather than doing anything for India.
Let’s take a simple example. India’s capital, Delhi has both very posh and very shabby places. VIP residential area, India Gate and GK are some of the posh areas but just opposite to it, Delhi also has places like Uttam Nagar, Najafgarh, Pahar Ganj where there are no roads, no sewage, no water supply and common man is still suffering and struggling for these. We are talking about capital of India what to say about other cities. This automatically brings down the overall HDI of India. Then we have poor health facilities. Check out the condition of most of the government hospitals and dispensaries in India. A person earning bit more would never go to these hospitals for any reason. So what government is giving to its common person. Practically nothing.
It is not that India is not putting any effort for the improvement of the same. There are many plans and programs at root level that have been initiated but still require pace to achieve more on this front. Many laws and policies have been created to solve the problem of poverty, malnutrition and problems related to health and sanitation. But lack of their proper implementation is leading to unsatisfactory results.
India is one of the largest producers of wheat and other food items but still we have the highest number of malnourished people in India. 42% of children in India are underweight. So the problem is not with the production of food but in the distribution.
It is clear that economic development and growth is incomplete without increase in Human Development Index and quality of life in India. Maximum benefits should be wrest from the present economic development and there should be appropriate framework for the various aspects of human development such as education, health, child nutrition, facility of drinking water, roads etc. To do this, active and bold decisions must be taken by the government. Let us all make India the land where quality of life does not remain a question so that we could proudly say – “Mera Bharat Mahaan.”