Tuesday, February 20, 2007

India - The other side of the coin

I don't know how to interpret these numbers, but every time someone starts talking about India's economic growth and its rapid development, my mind wanders on to these numbers.

Lets start with some solid demographic facts and numbers -

Population: 1,095,351,995 (July 2006 est.)
Literacy : 59.5% (source)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate : 0.9% (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - People living with HIV/AIDS : 5.7 million (2005 est.) (source)

Rural electrification - Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Uttranchal, West Bengal etc are some of the states where significant number (more than 10%) of villages are yet to be electrified.

  • Number of Villages (1991 Census) - 5,93,732
  • Villages Electrified (30 May 2006) - 4,39,502
  • Village level Electrification % - 74%
  • Number of Rural households (2001 Census) - 138,271,559
  • Electricity Access - 60,180,685
  • Rural Household level Electrification % - 44%

Some people read (something that media portrays) and start believing that small villages in India have Internet and have their own websites . The facts are very different. Villages don't even have proper drinking water, forget about electricity / computers / internet. Something similar posted on Gigaom. There are number of villages in India where problems range from no proper drinking water,no roads to no electricity and no health facilities.

Tribune had a excellent series of articles on India: The Tasks Ahead. The authors have very articulately written about the problems with India's governance model, how agriculture can start a new economic revolution, en powering women, judicial independence, fighting corruption, health of nation etc.

The point of bringing out these numbers is simply to highlight the fact that everything needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. We as Indians might have achieved phenomenal economic success and development rates, there are still many areas where we need to pull up our socks.

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