Sitaram Yachuri, the most popular and vocal face of CPM, sheds tears about the poor rating of India on HDI and some other reports in a column in Hindustan Times that perhaps he patronises.
HDI: Per capita income, adjusted to purchasing power parity, declined from $3,452 to $2,753 from last year. Life expectancy at birth declined from 63.7 years to 63.4 years. The combined gross enrollment ratio in schools declined from 63.8 per cent to 61 per cent. Of the 100 students that enter Class 1, only 31 reach Class 10. Of these, only around 16 pass Class 12. Of these, only about nine enter the portals of higher education.
India’s HDI, which stood at 0.427 in 1980, is now marginally higher, after nearly three decades, at 0.612. HDR 2009 shows that 41.6 per cent of our people live on less than $1.25 a day and 75.6 per cent live on less than $2 a day. This latter figure, in purchasing power parity terms, confirms the findings of the prime minister-appointed Arjun Sengupta Report that 77 per cent of Indians survive on less than Rs 20 a day.
India is six rungs lower than its ranking on per capita income based on purchasing power parity. The benefits of higher growth have only been confined to a few and have not contributed to the rise in the overall quality of life for the vast masses of our people.
‘Save the Children‘ report‘: One-fifth of the children dying in the world are Indian. A total of 2 million die before their fifth birthday. One child dies every 15 seconds due to neo-natal diseases. More than 4, 00,000 new-borns die every year within a day of birth. One in three malnourished children worldwide is Indian, while 46 per cent of our children are underweight.
Yachuri is very good at providing the figures that shock and shame every Indian. But it’s unfortunate that he hardly plays a role that he can very much can in improving the conditions. He is one of the top few in CPM politburo. The party controls and runs three states-West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala for many years. Unfortunately, it could do better and prove its model of development in at least the first two states where it is having uninterrupted runs. If it would have done better on effective governance, West Bengal would not have seen the menace of Naxalism even after Congress went out of power in late sixties. One can’t get anything done there without the party intermediary. It’s not only the unions in industries that have ruined development. The party is omnipresent in every sector worst being in education with all teachers under leftist banner. It will be difficult for West Bengal to recover ever because of the hard social division between the population belonging to left and others. Even if Didi, if at all, wins next time, West Bengal will take many years to get its lost glory.