Social sector expenditure

Haryana needs to do more to improve HDI

Development in the social sector leads to an increase in the capabilities of people, equipping them with enhanced labour productivity. This, in turn, boosts economic growth, as also the quality of life of the people. Further, with economic prosperity, the government increases the pie of expenditure on improving social parameters such as education and health, reinforcing socio-economic development in the long run. A study by the State Bank of India underpins this correlation between economic growth and expenditure on social sector advancement. With Haryana accounting for the highest compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of social sector expenditure in the country, it was expectedly found to record an appreciable improvement of 52.2 per cent in the Human Development Index (HDI) in 27 years from 1990.

Haryana has been clocking consistent growth in the past few years. With nearly one-third of its area falling in the NCR, the state has emerged as a leader in terms of industrial production, especially cars. It is a hub of software export and IT facilities. It is the second largest contributor of foodgrains to the Central pool and accounts for over 60 per cent of the export of basmati rice.

However, inter-district disparities need to be reduced fast to sustain the growth rate. Agrarian distress, inadequate education infrastructure and joblessness continue to be problem areas, threatening to pull Haryana’s score down. Ecological preservation is another area of concern that has a direct bearing on health. Green forests giving way to concrete jungles beset with emissions from vehicles and factories have an adverse impact on a good lifestyle. Patriarchal predominance is reflected as the sex ratio remains skewed. Social reforms are needed to complement the economic gains in order to overcome gender inequality. The government must aim for a judicious mix of economic prudence and social restructuring. To boast of a better HDI, there is still much to be done to scale up all three of its parameters: a long and healthy life; good education; and a decent standard of living as measured by GDP per capita.

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