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Updated: December 16, 2011 20:57 IST

India’s human development poor: Sen

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Nobel Laureate Amrtya Sen being conferred the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) during a special convocation in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: S. Subramanium
Nobel Laureate Amrtya Sen being conferred the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) during a special convocation in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: S. Subramanium

India’s track record of dealing with the human development issues is worse than neighbours like Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, Nobel laureate and noted economist Amartya Sen said on Friday.

“The tragedy is that not only China, but even Bangladesh is now doing better on almost every one of these social indicators than India is doing .... Every country Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are ahead already,” Professor Sen said, while addressing Delhi Economics Conclave organised by CII.

He said that among the six South Asian countries, India has slipped to fifth position from second in 1990 on parameters like education, life expectancy, immunisation, maternal mortality, etc.

Only Pakistan is below India on human development index, he said, adding that “because...(it has) its own problems connected to terrorism”.

India has higher percentage of child under-nourishment than any other country in the world, even in Africa, he said.

“We (India) need to maintain economic growth as growth generates public revenue and with public revenue we need to do things such as health care, immunisation, education...the government has to do a lot more,” he added.

Commenting on the challenges being faced by the government at present, he said :“In a democracy, you have to carry the party, the coalition and the political system, including the opposition with you”.

Prof. Sen also expressed his views in favour of balanced liberalisation and economic reforms.

“I do not think that there is any conflict in liberalisation .... Each time you have to see if it is doing good for the people or not,” he said.

Laying stress on economic reforms, he said they were not just about doing enough to address issues which were of great importance to those who relatively prospered.The formula that worked only for 20 per cent of the people of the country is not right, he added.

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