Population and Economic Development – Human capital formation in India
The population is a resource that is called human resources. Population becomes human capital when investments are made in the form of education and health. Literacy rate, the health of a person, and the skills acquired by the people determine the quality of a population. This significantly contributes to the growth of an economy by enhancing national income, cultural richness, and governance efficiency.
There are two different opinions about the relationship between population growth and economic development. Some economists are of the view that the population is an imperative source of economic development. On the other hand, some economists regard population growth as a retarding factor of growth. Hence, it is essential to analyze the impacts of a large population.
Meaning of Human Capital
Human capital is intangible and built in the body and mind of its owner. Whether a human being wants to raise earnings depends on his/her inner conscience. Human capital cannot be sold, but only its services can be sold in the market. It creates both private and social benefits.
Differences between Physical and Human Capital
|It is tangible.
|It is intangible, built in the body and mind of its owner.
|It is separable from its owner and can be sold in the market.
|It cannot be sold, but only its services can be sold in the market.
|It is completely mobile between countries, barring
some artificial trade restrictions.
|It is not perfectly mobile and is restricted by
|It can be built through imports and creates only
|It depends on a person’s conscience as to whether he/she wants to raise earnings. It creates both private and social benefits.
Improvement in Human Capital
The main aim of human capital formation is to make human beings in a nation more productive. Expenditure on education and health was incurred through the three tiers of the government—union government, state government, and local government.
Ministries of education, departments of education, and various organizations such as the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), University Grants Commission (UGC), and All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) regulate the education sector. Likewise, ministries of health and various organizations such as the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) regulate the health sector.
The union government creates broad policies and plans through the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare. Government measures relating to health services in India include the control of communicable diseases, the establishment of health care institutions, and the expansion of medical education and research.
Women and Child Welfare
Discrimination against women is very common in the labour market of less developed and developing countries. Women enjoy fewer rights than men in a developing economy. Violence against women is also one of the serious problems in an economy. These discriminations against women are called gender-based discrimination in society.
To improve the status of women and the welfare of children, the government has taken several steps:
- Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) was launched in 2009–10 to provide a safe and secure environment for the development of needy children.
- Support to Training and Employment Programme (STEP): This scheme was launched in 1987. It
- seeks to train women for employment in traditional occupations such as agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy, handlooms and handicrafts.
- Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY): This scheme was launched in April 2005 with the objective of reducing maternal mortality and infant mortality rates. It encourages delivery at healthcare institutions and makes provision for cash assistance and health care assistance to poor women during the pre-natal delivery and post-natal stages.
- Universal Immunisation Programme: This was launched in November 1985. After the initiation of the programme, there has been a decline of 83% in diphtheria, 83% in whooping cough and 59% in measles. Because of the outbreak of polio in some states in 2006, the pulse polio immunisation programme has received special emphasis since 2007.
- Rajiv Gandhi National Crèche Scheme: This scheme was launched for children of working mothers to provide supplementary nutrition and emergency medicines to children in the age group of 0–6 years.
- Dhan Lakshmi Scheme: This scheme was launched in 2008 for a family of a girl child to provide a cash amount after fulfilling certain conditions.
Empowerment of Women
The social return from educating women is higher than that of educating men. It helps in not only improving the work efficiency of women but also improving child health by improving the mother’s literacy.
According to the United Nations and World Bank, the education of women is one of the most cost-effective means of improving local health conditions. Proper education and training would empower women to take leadership roles in various fields of social and economic activities.
Major discrimination against women in India occurs in the following areas:
- Health-based discrimination
- Discrimination on the education front
- Discrimination in the workplace
- Discrimination at the household level
Birth Control Devices
The regulation of conception by preventive methods or devices to limit the number of offspring is called birth control. There are certain devices to control birth such as condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, intrauterine devices, and physiological devices.
The government has implemented the following steps to ensure the welfare of children:
- Sarva Siksha Abhiyan provides elementary education to children in the age group of 6 to 14 years.
- School camps are organised to increase enrolment in elementary education.
- Mid-day meal scheme aims to encourage attendance and retention of children with improved nutritional status.
- The Integrated Child Development Services (ICPS) scheme was launched in 1975 to improve the nutritional and health status of children within the age group of 0–6 years, to lay the foundation for proper physical, psychological and social development of the child and to reduce the incidence of malnutrition and infant mortality rates.
- The Pulse Polio Programme is being implemented at the national level, free of cost so that all children up to five years of age are immunised against polio.
- The Reproductive and Child Health Programme was launched in 1997 to combine fertility regulation, safe motherhood and child survival
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