The social problems of contemporary India are the result of a complex nexus between the factors of exclusion and inclusion rooted in history, values, and cultural ethos. Many of these problems based on the policy of segregation have not been addressed by the development strategy launched since Independence. Recent policies of globalisation have further undermined the role of larger societal norms as well as the state apparatus that could counter exclusionary forces. The agenda of social development has remained unfinished, keeping social tensions simmering.
Today, however, in the policy debate, orthodox economic liberalism is giving way to concerns regarding social consequences of globalisation, as it affects the poorest and the marginalised section of the population. Thus, a number of highly important and far-reaching social policy measures have been brought on to the development agenda, in the form of the Right to Information Act, Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Rural Health Mission among others.
This unique volume argues the need to harness the energy of the nation to ensure their effective implementation through an overview of trends and patterns of development along with policies and programmes. It identifies key concerns and proposes measures of possible intervention.
The areas and sectors discussed include:
Poverty, unemployment, and the role and importance of public intervention
Challenges in the health sector
Achievements and failures in education
Challenges in urban governance
The role and location of women in social development
Communal relations as an important factor in attaining social integration
Inequality and population mobility
Decentralisation and empowering local government
Besides these, the report has an analytical section on the status of the child in India with essays on development, the elimination of child labour, and the country’s social obligations to the Indian child.
As a final measure of how the various regions of India have fared on the scale of social development, the report provides a ranking of the states in terms of social development with an aggregative index of their performance. With contributions from some of India’s leading scholars and policy planners, the report will be useful to a wide audience of scholars and activists in development studies, economics and politics, in addition to policy planners, administrators, and researchers.