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Major Challenges Confronting India

Posted by Admin on October 21, 2014 | Comment

Major Challenges Confronting India 3.92/5 (78.33%) 24 votes

India is grappling with some of the fundamental challenges that should be taken up on a priority basis. The basis indicators of growth are not at par with the aspirations of the common people and a genuine willingness to set things straight is still missing. The national issues that continue to hold India back from achieving its development goals have not emerged recently. From corruption to unemployment and lack of healthcare services to infrastructure gap, the problematic issues had been eating into the holistic health of the country for long.

Major Challenges Confronting India

Lack of Quality Education

Radical reforms in the education sector is a long-standing demand of the nation. When it comes to primary education system, it suffers from pathetic infrastructure and poor availability of quality teachers. The large chunks of government schools, especially in the rural areas, are even devoid of proper sanitation facilities.

In the higher education sector, there has been significant growth in the number of colleges and universities as well as the number of graduates passing out every year. But these are not the indicators of progress. What is evident is the high percentage of drop out, growing number of educated unemployed, and the lowering of teaching standards.  The governments in the past had laid emphasis on “quantitative expansion “instead of qualitative and structural change. They had tried to hide the fundamental shortcomings by pumping in infrastructural investment.

Low Investment in Healthcare

The fact that India is one of the five countries that spends the least on public health somewhat explains the plight. Spending only four percent of the GDP on healthcare facilities makes the universal and affordable healthcare system for people a distant dream. It’s no surprise that the healthcare infrastructure of the country is over-burdened. It would continue to be so unless the government starts looking at expenditure in healthcare sector as an investment.

It has been observed that states, which are under financial constraints, lower their spending on healthcare. It leads to poor implementation of public health programs. According to experts, lack of awareness also leads to non-utilisation of health services. In the absence of “preventive and curative” healthcare services, major chunk of population continues to be burdened by infectious diseases.

Rising Unemployment

Employment generation, rather the lack of it, is a concern. Although the issue had found place in the election manifesto of the national and the regional parties, the nation remains sluggish in terms of offering job opportunities to its citizens. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report, the unemployment scenario has shown a rising trend in last few years. The unemployment rate was expected to rise to 3.8 percent in 2014 from 3.5 percent in 2011

Although global economic slowdown had a negative impact on the business expansion back in India, yet there are indigenous issues as well that have equally contributed to growing unemployment. The gap between demand and supply of skilled labour is widening. Hence, the government should introduce skill enhancement programs to address the gap and create long-term employment opportunities. Moreover, migration of labour to urban areas has increased the unemployment rate in rural areas. Another pressing concern is the high rates of informal employment where employees are poorly paid and their job is unprotected.

Rampant Corruption

The unbridled growth of cases of corruption in India is often attributed to excessive regulations, opaque bureaucracy and complicated taxation and licensing systems.

On a bureaucratic level, examples of corruption are rampant. Some of the biggest scandals that have emerged in the last decade have seen involvement of senior Cabinet and state ministers. In fact, the social welfare programmes and social spending schemes introduced by the Indian government have often become the source of corruption. Judicial corruption in India is another area of concern. Delays in delivering justice, shortage of judges and lack of judicial reforms make way for corruption. For those who don’t know, India ranked 95th out of 182 countries in Corruption Perceptions Index in 2011.

Infrastructure Gap 

The major obstacle to realising the dream of inclusive growth is insufficient infrastructure. The primary challenge in bridging India’s infrastructure gap is the shortage of natural resources, corruption, and disproportionate rise in demands due to population explosion. Critical sectors such as power and utilities are suffering from significant shortages. What’s holding India back when it comes to addressing this deficit? Difficult business environment, delays in approving projects, and lack of reforms have made foreign investors cautious and some of them have retreated. According to a research report, private investments in the infrastructure sector came down to $183 million during the first quarter of 2012 from $459 million in 2011. This has led to a shortage of capital for investment in infrastructure.

WBSG21.10.2014

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