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Social Sectors

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Budget 1998-99
Budget 1997-98
Budget 1996-97


Social Sectors

The government has relied mainly on three approaches for reduction of poverty and unemployment viz., higher economic growth, anti-poverty and employment programmes and priority to government expenditure on social sectors. The poverty ratio declined from 56.4 per cent in 1973-74 to 37.3 in 1993-94 in rural areas and from 49.0 per cent in 1973-74 to 32.4 per cent in 1993-94 in urban areas. For the country as a whole, the poverty ratio declined from 54.9 per cent in 1973-74 to 36 per cent in 1993-94.
The Planning Commission has estimated that, additional employment opportunities of the order of 29.74 million were generated during January 1,1994 to March 31,1997. This implies an average growth rate of employment of 2.47 per cent per annum compared with 2.31 per cent during July 1,1983 to December 31,1993 and 2.32 per cent during January 1,1978 to June 30,1983.
The government has decided to set up the Second National Commission on Labour with a view to provide protection to millions of workers. The main focus of the Commission would be to suggest rationalisation of the existing labour laws in the organised sector and an umbrella legislation for ensuring a minimum level of protection to the workers in the unorganised sector. 
Increased availability of health care and family welfare services has resulted in reduction of all-India death rate, birth rate and infant mortality rate. The crude death rate declined from 14.9 per thousand in 1971 to 9.8 in 1991 and further to 8.9 in 1997. Similarly, the infant mortality rate per thousand declined from 129 in 1971 to 80 in 1991 and further to 71 in 1997. The birth rate per thousand also declined from 36.9 in 1971 to 29.5 in 1991 and further to 27.2 in 1997.
Average real wages for unskilled agricultural labour, which reflect the economic conditions of agricultural labourers, have increased by 0.72 per cent in 1995-96 (Agricultural year July to June), 4.67 per cent in 1996-97 and 4.88 per cent in 1997-98. These trends are consistent with the view that more rapid economic growth has brought about an improvement in living standards of people in general.
Several anti-poverty measures have been in operation for decades focussing on the poor as the target group viz. welfare of weaker sections, women and children, and a number of special employment programmes for self and wage employment in rural and urban areas. The Central Plan and non-Plan expenditure on social sectors comprise
education, health, water supply, sanitation, housing, slum development, social welfare and nutrition, rural employment and minimum basic services. As a ratio to GDP at market prices these expenditures increased to a record high of 1.91 per cent in 1998-99 (BE) as compared to 1.33 per cent in 1991-92 and 1.75 per cent in 1997-98 (RE). The Central Plan allocation for social sectors and programmes show highest growth of about 36 per cent for family welfare and Women and Child Development in 1998-99(BE) over 1997-98 (BE). The outlay for health has gone up by about 25 per cent in 1998-99(BE) over 1997-98 (BE).

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