Social Infrastructure of Punjab: A Comparison with Kerala.
Dr R. S. Bawa
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
Lecturer Department of Management
Economic development and prosperity of any state is immensely dependent on the level of its social infrastructure. Education, medical and public health are twin most important areas of social infrastructure. Punjab the food bowl of India and one of the most prosperous states is beset with handicaps and social backwardness. This paper is an attempt to analyze the level of educational attainment and health of people of Punjab. The comparisons have been made with the socially developed state of Kerala to identify human development concerns of the state and suggest policy and Institutional efforts to ensure reinforcement of social infrastructure.
Economic development and prosperity of any state is immensely dependent on the level of its social infrastructure. Education, medical and public health are twin most important areas of social infrastructure. Punjab is a state of paradoxes. It experienced many upheavals and turmoil. The state’s administrative map has changed twice in the recent past. In 1947 the political boundaries of Punjab changed due to partition of East Punjab (India) & West Punjab (Pakistan) and again in 1966 the boundaries changed on linguistic basis. The partition in 1947 uprooted a large number of people involving an exchange of populations, forcing them to leave their homes and hearth and enter as refugees. Fortunately in the Indian Punjab, they were quickly resettled in a record time of four years and Punjab was ready for initiating measures to embark on a fast growth path. Punjab began the consolidation of land holdings in 1951 and by 1963-64 the work was almost completed. At the same time, it established a network of canals for irrigation with the completion of the Bhakra Dam by the end of the 1950s. With the establishment of Punjab Agricultural University at Ludhiana in 1962, the foundation was laid for a successful launch of the green revolution in 1965-66. Agriculture became the leading sector and Punjab started growing at a faster pace than the Indian Economy as a whole. The state also experienced internal crisis in form of Naxalite movement in 1960-70 and militant movement in 1980-90.Yet, in spite of these hindrances the state achieved economic prosperity and high per capita incomes via its engine of growth, agriculture. Though it attained the status of one of the most progressive and prosperous state of India but it is beset with social backwardness and handicaps. The rapid economic development of state is in contrast with the slow and lops sided social development. The social development in the state is characterized by regional and gender disparities. Today some of its human development indices are comparative only to the most backward states of India. This paper is an attempt to analyze the level of educational attainment and health of people of Punjab. The comparisons have been made with the socially developed state of Kerala to identify human development concerns of the state and suggest policy and Institutional efforts to ensure reinforcement of social infrastructure. The state of Kerala has been chosen for comparative study because of the high levels of human development attained. The paper is divided in five sections. After introduction, the sections II and III provide analysis on the development of health services& the level of educational attainment in the state. The section four identifies the key problematic areas and section five gives suggestions regarding policy directions and concludes the paper 2. Health
Health with reference to human development should be a fundamental right of an individual. Longevity is one of most important goal of human development. It has been clearly stated as a priority in the very first five year plan of India: “Nothing can be...
References: 1. Punjab State Development Report, 2004, Planning Commission, Government of India.
2. Human Development Report Punjab, 2004, Planning Commission, Government of India.
3. The Tribune, Chandigarh, January 20, 2009.
5. The State Report Presented by The Honorable Education Minister Of Punjab,
Ms Upinderjit Kaur, March, 2007.
6. The Hindu, December 14th, 2007.
7. The Hindu, January 8th, 2009.
10. The Hindu, April 5th, 2006.
11. The Outlook, April 17th, 2005.
12. Human Development Report Kerala, 2005, Planning Commission, Government of India.
13. Punjab Report on Monitoring the Financial Aspects Relating to Sarva Shiksha abhyan, 2004, Institute of Public Auditors of India, New Delhi.
14. Economic Survey of Punjab, 2007-08, Government of Punjab.
16. Statistical Abstract of Punjab, 2007, Government of Punjab.
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