Sunday, March 05, 2006

India Inequality

Sudhirendar Sharma's article on the economic growth (GDP) centered Budget: India Together: GDP planning: number crunching won't do
Underlying these figures is the familiar divide between India shining and Bharat in darkness, also seen in the Economic Survey. While the growth rate may have shown steady progress, food grain availability has declined to an all time low of 438 grams per day. The prices of essential foodgrains are going up -- wheat is up by 10.7 per cent, and pulses up by 19 per cent. Markets may have performed beyond expectations but the unemployment rate in rural and urban areas has reached an all time high of 9 and 9.3 per cent respectively. Earlier, unemployment increased to an unprecedented high of 7.2 per cent, the National Sample Survey had reported. The skewed development affects no less than two-thirds of the country's population, an estimated 72 crore people.

Agriculture, that contributes to one-fourth of country's GDP and has around 410 million people in total relying on it, continues to stagnate at 2 per cent. Low farm productivity and lack of investment in farming has led to the inevitable decline in growth from an impressive 3.8 per cent during the recent past. With over 17,000 farmers' suicides in the past few years, the future of 60 per cent of India's population remains uncertain.

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