Caught in the web

Of poverty, life in India has improved little over the past decade, reports the planning commission's National Human Development Report 2001

Published: Friday 31 May 2002

-- Procuring food still takes away much of the income.
> Indian villagers spend 59.4 per cent of their total expenditure on food. Urban India spends 48.1 per cent

Basic necessities become luxuries.
> Only one in ten people in rural India have access to sanitation.
> Half of rural India does not get potable water

Quality of life is a dream.
> A roof over the head gives some comfort, but not to the 40 million homeless.
> Seventy three per cent Indians live in cramped homes of two or one room. But pucca houses don't mean 'development'. People in Himachal Pradesh prefer a mud-plastered wall. It keeps them out of statistics but keeps them warm

Traditional knowledge and education may be neglected but literacy rates have improved.
> Only one in 15 people (18.3 per cent) could read and write their names in 1951.
> About 65.2 per cent can today

Public health too has two sides to the story. Life expectancy increases and infant mortality rates decrease but half the children below the age of 5 remain malnourished. Sixty per cent Indian women are anaemic.

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