Education, health, and housing facilities are the core elements of social change which serve as a base for the process of social development of an economy. They provide indirect support by building the social sector of the economy. Social infrastructure refers to the main elements of social change which serve as a base for the process of social development of a country.
Economic growth refers to an increase in the real national income of a country. Enhanced productivity of human beings contributes to increasing labor productivity, encourages innovations, and creates the ability to take in new technologies. Higher-income builds a high level of human capital which leads to the growth of income. India has recognized the importance of human capital in economic growth. Trained and educated on sound lines, a large population can itself become an asset for the growth of an economy.
Classification of Infrastructure
Infrastructure can be classified as social infrastructure and economic infrastructure.
- Social infrastructure refers to the main elements of social change which serve as a base for the process of social development of a country. It contributes to economic processes indirectly and from outside the system of production and distribution. Examples: Hospitals, educational institutions, sanitary conditions, and housing facilities.
- Economic infrastructure refers to all such elements of economic change which serve as a foundation for the process of economic growth. Examples: Transport, communication, and energy. Thus, one infrastructure supports the other. Hence, they both are related to each other.
Social infrastructure #Education
Role of Education in Economic Development
- Education increases the accessibility of people to modern and scientific ideas.
- It increases efficiency and the ability of people to absorb new technology.
- It creates awareness of available opportunities and the mobility of labor.
- It helps people to gain knowledge, skills and attitude which would enable them to understand changes in society and scientific advancements.
- Investment in education is one of the main sources of human capital which facilitates inventions and innovations.
- Available educated labor force facilitates the adaptation of advanced technology in a country.
Steps to Achieve Growth in Education
- Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti was launched in 1987–88 for the establishment of residential schools to provide advanced quality education to children in rural areas.
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a scheme that aims to provide elementary education to all children between the ages of 6 to 14 years. It also organizes school camps to increase the enrolment in elementary education and practices the mid-day meal scheme to encourage attendance and retention of children with improved nutritional status.
- Kendriya Vidyalayas were set up by the Central Government in 1965 to provide educational facilities to the children of transferable Central Government employees. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) functions as an apex institution to provide academic improvement of school education.
- Indira Gandhi National Open University was established in 1985 to facilitate educational opportunities for school dropouts, housewives, and employed and unemployed people. The University Grants Commission (UGC) was set up in 1956 to determine the standards in higher education.
Bottlenecks in the Education System
The quality of education in India is very poor. The educational policies of 1966 and 1986 emphasized educational expansion and improvement in all sectors. Also, these policies suggested that disparity in access to education be eliminated. However, success in this regard is limited.
To achieve a noticeable rate of growth in the educational sector, our government has been promising to spend 6% of GDP annually for the last four decades. However, the current level of educational expenditure is not more than 3.8% of the GDP. There are regional and gender inequalities in the investment of educational expenditure. It also noticed that the government has not been able to achieve the objective of providing free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years.
Social infrastructure #Health System
Health is an essential requirement for making an efficient and active workforce. It reduces the production loss caused by worker’s illnesses
Causes of Poor Health in India
- High birth rate: Because of the rapid growth of the population, providing a safe and sufficient drinking water supply and proper sanitation for the community becomes very difficult. This leads to many health risks in society.
- Malnutrition: Malnutrition results in innumerable health problems and serious health issues among children.
- Insanitary conditions and housing facilities: Poor households are surviving in crowded and unsanitary places. They face the problem of contaminated food and water and live in sub-standard dwellings lacking in space, air, and sunlight.
Drawbacks of the Indian Health System
- According to the budget allocation, expenditure on the health sector is 4.2% of the total expenditure, which is low when compared to that of other developed and developing countries.
- Measures to fight against AIDS are not satisfactory in our health system.
- Public health facilities are used by less than 20% of the population.
- The percentage of doctors available in Private Health Centres (PHCs) is 38%, and the stock of medicines sufficient for PHCs is only 30%.
- There is a lack of access to specialized medical care such as paediatrics, gynaecology, obstetrics, and anaesthesia.
- In rural areas, PHCs do not have diagnostic labs for blood testing.
Social infrastructure #Family Planning
Family planning means having children by choice rather than by chance. It focuses on minimizing the size of the family and proper spacing of children. 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.
Social infrastructure #Housing
A scheme known as the Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana was launched during 2000–01 for the development of rural housing.
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