Education, healthcare and training make a population an asset to a country and are the three factors to determine the quality of a nation’s population. Uneducated, untrained and unhealthy people are termed as nation’s liability.
Education helps unlock the doors of new aspirations and opportunities and allows having a good life. Education inculcates good values and helps find good employment to let contribute to the national income.
Education prepares a person in becoming a responsible citizen thereby contribute to the country’s good governance. The national expenditure on education grew from just 151 crore rupees in the first five-year plan of 1951 to 43,825 crore rupees in the tenth plan of 2002. From 1951 to 2002, the expenditure on education rose from just 0.64% to 3.98% of our Gross Domestic Product.
The government is in the process of establishing Navodaya Vidyalayas in every district of the country to provide universal access to education to all children.
The central government has also launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan in partnership with the state and local governments. This is a time-bound initiative to provide free, compulsory elementary education to all children between 6 and 14 years of age by 2010.
The tenth five-year plan for 2002-2007 focussed on increasing the enrolment of students from 18 to 23 years of age in higher education. The tenth plan aimed to combine formal, informal and distance education to provide better access to education to students in all parts of the country.
The government aims to provide vocational training. The number of universities and colleges of higher studies have grown in number since 1951 but are not enough to accommodate all the aspiring students in the country.
The state of education in a country is measured by its literacy rate. The literacy rate in India is higher for the male population than the female population and is not uniform across India. This is mainly due to the tradition of less emphasis on education of girls.
People in urban areas are more literate than people in rural areas. Literacy rates range from 96% in some districts of Kerala to under 30% in parts of Bihar and Jharkhand.
Staying healthy is important as good health allows fighting illness and helps one perform to the full potential. Good health allows working more efficiently and being an asset for the organization. Good health is important for overall well-being as an individual too.
Our national health policy aims to make healthcare and family welfare programmes more accessible to people and provide them with nutritional guidance with special focus on the poorer sections of society.
There has been a tremendous increase in the number of healthcare institutions in India in the past few decades. Health sub-centres, primary health centres and community health centres catering to the rural population have grown in large numbers.
A good indicator of the increase in health facilities is the number of hospital beds available in India. The pool of trained doctors and nursing staff has also increased in India.
The health of a population is indicated by parameters like its life expectancy, infant mortality rate, and birth and death rates. Better healthcare facilities increased the average life expectancy in India to 65 years by the year 2000.
Infant mortality rate is the number of deaths of children under 1 year of age per 1000 live births. Child and family care programmes reduced the infant mortality rate in India from 147 in 1951 to 75 by the year 2000.
Birth rate is the number of babies born per 1000 people in a given time. With increasing awareness about family planning, the birth rate in India came down to 26.1 by the year 2000.
Death rate is the number of deaths per 1000 people in a given time. With better health care, the death rate in India decreased to 8.7 by the year 2000. However, like education, healthcare facilities are also not uniformly distributed in India.