Pune: India is not match for neighbouring
China when it comes to social development indicators, eminent
economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said.
"There is a huge gap there (on social front) as China
is one of the best performers in terms of social indicators,"
Sen said while speaking at the Indian Economic Association
Making an assessment of the Indian economy and the
benefits that have percolated down the social sector, he said,
"India`s disadvantage can be seen even in comparison with
countries that are doing far less well than China, but still a
lot better than India."
While India has been overtaking other countries in the
progress of its real income, it has been lagging behind
others in terms of basic social indicators of quality of life,
he said. In fact, India is being overtaken in these respects
by many other countries even within the region of South Asian
itself, he added.
He said India`s average ranking among six South Asian
economies (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and
Bhutan) has "fallen from being the second best to being second
worst and this is so despite the fact that India has grown
immensely faster than all other economies in South Asia
in terms of GNP or Gross Domestic Product (GDP)."
The relation between economic growth and advancement of
living standards depends on many factors. One of them is
what is done with the public revenue that is generated by
economic growth, said Sen who won the 1998 Nobel Prize for his
contributions to welfare economics.
Comparing the two leading Asian economies, Sen pointed
out "The fact that China devotes 2.3 per cent of Government
expenditure on health care compared with India`s relatively
miserable 1.4 per cent, is directly relevant to the much
greater health achievement of China compared with India."
"It contributes to China`s much higher life expectancy
than India`s (the former being 73.5 years compared with
India`s 64.4 years)."
"One result of the relatively low allocation to public
health care in India is the development of a remarkable
reliance of many poor people on private doctors, many of whom
have little medical training," Sen said.
"India has moved towards reliance on private health
care without developing solid basic public health facilities."
The comparison in terms of social indicators such as
those covered in the Human Development Reports of the United
Nations or in the list of Millennium Development Goals, tend
to be entirely in favour of China against India, he noted.