India’s social sector spending lowest among BRIC nationsJune 22nd, 2008 - 3:13 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Despite strong growth, India lags far behind other BRIC countries in social sector achievements, spending lowest on education and health, according to a study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham). Brazil, Russia, India and China are collectively known as the BRIC economies.
The Assocham Eco Pulse (AEP) study showed that India’s public expenditure on health and education stood at five percent and 9.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) respectively in 2005-06 fiscal.
While Brazil and Russia spent 7.9 percent and 5.2 percent respectively on health in fiscal 2006, India is a notch above China with public expenditure on education reaching five percent of GDP.
Surprisingly, China ranked lowest among the BRIC countries with a minimal share of 4.9 percent of health spending.
“India needs to keep its pace with other developing countries in its social sector development, to meet the twin objectives of rapid progress and inclusive growth. We need to invest in more quality education and health services,” Assocham president Sajjan Jindal said.
In the period under review, India’s mortality rate among children under five years stood at 76 (per 1,000), the highest among the BRIC countries. In contrast, Russia recorded lowest infant mortality rate at 16 per 1,000. China and Brazil ranked second and third with mortality rates 24 and 20 per 1,000 respectively.
While Russia, Brazil and China spend 12.9 percent, 12.8 percent and 10.2 percent respectively on education, India contributes just 9.2 percent of GDP, the study said.
India’s literacy rate of 67 percent is the least among the BRIC countries. In fiscal 2005, Russia with highest public expenditure on education among the BRIC nations has almost achieved complete literacy, as its literacy rate was 99.4 percent.
China, whose education spending stood at 10.2 percent of its GDP, has 90.92 percent literacy rate. Though the public expenditure in Brazil is comparatively high, the country lags behind China with 88.6 percent literacy rate.
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