Bangladesh has left India behind in all social indicators, he says

Gender-based equality plays a major role in a country’s overall development and India lagged in Human Development Index, according to Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.

He was delivering the G.L. Mehta Memorial Lecture in the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) on ‘India: A Defense and a Critique’ on Saturday.

“The Delhi gang rape incident has done one good thing — it has brought our attention to the issue. To all those who say rapes happen only in cities and not in villages, I must say that they are totally unaware about Dalit women being raped continuously in our villages,” said Professor Sen.

Citing the example of Bangladesh — which has put in concerted efforts to promote gender equality — Professor Sen pointed out the neighbouring country had left India behind in all social indicators. “The large number of women health workers or school teachers has actually helped [Bangladesh] them to overtake India in every aspect of Human Development Index,” he noted.

Supporting the major role to be played by public healthcare system in India, he said a healthy workforce was itself a necessity of development.

India spent only 1.2% of its GDP on public health service expenditure while China spent 2.7% and the European countries 7.9%. “Do take market economy seriously but do not get overwhelmed with it. There is a misconception that China took up the market economy entirely, which is not the case. They [laid] emphasis on their public healthcare system and the results are that they are above India.”