Unemployment in India

Unemployment India as a nation is faced with massive problem of unemployment. Unemployment can be defined as a state of worklessness for a man fit and willing to work. It is a condition of involuntary and not voluntary idleness. Some features of unemployment have been identified as follows:
1. The incidence of unemployment is much higher in urban areas than in rural areas. 2. Unemployment rates for women are higher than those for men. 3. The incidence of unemployment among the educated is much higher than the overall unemployment. 4. There is greater unemployment in agricultural sector than in industrial and other major sectors.

Economists and social thinkers have classified unemployment into various types. Generally unemployment can be classified in two types: (1) Voluntary unemployment In this type of unemployment a person is out of job of his own desire doesn't work on the prevalent or prescribed wages. Either he wants higher wages or doesn't want to work at all. It is in fact social problem leading to social disorganization. Social problems and forces such as a revolution, a social upheaval, a class struggle, a financial or economic crisis a war between nations, mental illness, political corruption mounting unemployment and crime etc. threaten the smooth working of society. Social values are often regarded as the sustaining forces of society. They contribute to the strength and stability of social order. But due to rapid social change new values come up and some of the old values decline. At the same time, people are not is a position to reject the old completely and accept the new altogether. Here, conflict between the old and the new is the inevitable result which leads to the social disorganization in imposed situation. In economic terminology this situation is voluntary unemployment. (2) In voluntary unemployment In this type of situation the person who is unemployed has no say in the matter. It means that a person is separated from remunerative work and devoid of wages although he is capable of earning his wages and is also anxious to earn them. Forms and types of unemployment according to Hock are.

a.

Cyclical unemployment - This is the result of the trade cycle which is a part of the capitalist system. In such a system, there is greater unemployment and when there is depression a large number of people are rendered unemployed. Since such an economic crisis is the result of trade cycle, the unemployment is a part of it. b. Sudden unemployment - When at the place where workers have been employed there is some change, a large number of persons are unemployed. It all happens in the industries, trades and business where people are employed for a job and suddenly when the job has ended they are asked to go. c. Unemployment caused by failure of Industries - In many cases, a business a factory or an industry has to close down. There may be various factors

responsible for it there may be dispute amongst the partners, the business may give huge loss or the business may not turn out to be useful and so on. d. Unemployment caused by deterioration in Industry and business - In various industries, trades or business, sometimes, there is deterioration. This deterioration may be due to various factors. In efficiency of the employers, keen competitions less profit etc. are some of the factors responsible for deterioration in the industry and the business. e. Seasonal unemployment - Certain industries and traders engage workers for a particular season. When the season has ended the workers are rendered unemployed. Sugar industry is an example of this type of seasonal unemployment.

The problem of unemployment has becoming a colossal. Various problems have caused this problem. There are individual factors like age, vocational unfitness and physical disabilities which restrict the people. External factors include technological and economic factors. There is enormous increase in the population. Every year India adds to her population afresh. More than this every year about 5 million people become eligible for securing jobs. Business field is subject to ups and downs of trade cycle and globalization. Economic depression or sick industries are often close down compelling their employees to become unemployed. Technological advancement contributes to economic development .But unplanned and uncontrolled growth of technology is causing havoc on job opportunities. The computerization and automation has led to technological unemployment. Strikes and lockouts have become inseparable aspect of the industrial world today. Due to these industries often face economic loses and production comes down. Since workers do not get any salary or wages during the strike period they suffer from economic hardships. They become permanently or temporarily unemployed. Today young people are not ready to take jobs which are considered to be socially degrading or lowly. Our educational system has its own irreparable defects and its contribution to the unemployment is an open truth.Our education does not prepare the minds of young generation to become self-employed on the contrary it makes them dependent on government vacancies which are hard to come. Our State right from the beginning of Five year plans has introduced several employment generating schemes and programmes over the years but in the absence of proper implementation and monitoring have failed to achieve the required targets. Recently UPA Government has come up with Rural Employment Guarantee program which aims to provide minimum days of employment to people living in the villages. This is a laudable programme if implemented sincerely because it will provide employment to people during natural calamities like drought, floods etc. The remedial measures for reducing unemployment may lay greater emphasis on creation of opportunities for self -employment, augmentation of productivity and income levels of the working poor, shift in emphasis from creation of relief type of employment to the building up of durable productive assets in the rural areas and instead of attempting to revert somewhat to protectionist policies the pace of privatization may be accelerated.

Poverty in India
According to a recent Indian government committee constituted to estimate poverty, nearly 38% of India’s population (380 million) is poor. This report is based on new methodology and the figure is 10% higher than the present poverty estimate of 28.5%. The committee was headed by SD Tendulkar has used a different methodology to reach at the current figure. It has taken into consideration indicators for heath, education, sanitation, nutrition and income as per National Sample Survey Organization survey of 2004-05.This new methodology is a complex scientific basis aimed at addressing the concern raised over the current poverty estimation. Since 1972 poverty has been defined on basis of the money required to buy food worth 2100 calories in urban areas and 2400 calories in rural areas. In June this year a government committee headed by NC Saxena committee estimated 50% Indians were poor as against Planning Commission’s 2006 figure of 28.5%. Poverty is one of the main problems which have attracted attention of sociologists and economists. It indicates a condition in which a person fails to maintain a living standard adequate for his physical and mental efficiency. It is a situation people want to escape. It gives rise to a feeling of a discrepancy between what one has and what one should have. The term poverty is a relative concept. It is very difficult to draw a demarcation line between affluence and poverty. According to Adam Smith - Man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, the conveniences and the amusements of human life. Even after more than 50 years of Independence India still has the world's largest number of poor people in a single country. Of its nearly 1 billion inhabitants, an estimated 260.3 million are below the poverty line, of which 193.2 million are in the rural areas and 67.1 million are in urban areas. More than 75% of poor people reside in villages. Poverty level is not uniform across India. The poverty level is below 10% in states like Delhi, Goa, and Punjab etc whereas it is below 50% in Bihar (43) and Orissa (47). It is between 30-40% in Northeastern states of Assam, Tripura, and Mehgalaya and in Southern states of TamilNadu and Uttar Pradesh. Poverty has many dimensions changing from place to place and across time. There are two inter-related aspects of poverty-Urban and rural poverty. The main causes of urban poverty are predominantly due to impoverishment of rural peasantry that forces them to move out of villages to seek some subsistence living in the towns and cities. In this process, they even lose the open space or habitat they had in villages albeit without food and other basic amenities. When they come to the cities, they get access to some food though other sanitary facilities including clean water supply still elude them. And they have to stay in the habitats that place them under sub-human conditions. While a select few have standards of living comparable to the richest in the world, the majority fails to get two meals a day. The causes of rural poverty are manifold including inadequate and ineffective implementation of antipoverty programmes.The overdependence on monsoon with non-availability of

irrigational facilities often result in crop-failure and low agricultural productivity forcing farmers in the debt-traps. The rural communities tend to spend large percentage of annual earnings on social ceremonies like marriage; feast etc.Our economic development since Independence has been lopsided .There has been increase in unemployment creating poverty like situations for many. Population is growing at an alarming rate. The size of the Indian family is relatively bigger averaging at 4.2.The other causes include dominance of caste system which forces the individual to stick to the traditional and hereditary occupations. Since the 1970s the Indian government has made poverty reduction a priority in its development planning. Policies have focused on improving the poor standard of living by ensuring food security, promoting self-employment through greater access to assets, increasing wage employment and improving access to basic social services. Launched in 1965, India's Public Distribution System has helped meet people's basic food needs by providing rations at subsidized prices. Although it has affected less than 20% of the Poor's food purchases, the system has been important in sustaining people's consumption of cereals, especially in periods of drought. It has provided women and girls with better access to food and helped overcome the widespread discrimination against female consumption within households. It has also reduced the burden of women, who are responsible for providing food for the household. The largest credit-based government poverty reduction programme in the world, the Integrated Rural Development Programme provides rural households below the poverty line with credit to purchase income-generating assets. Launched in 1979, the programme has supplied subsidized credit to such groups as small and marginalized farmers, agricultural laborers, rural artisans, the physically handicapped, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Within this target population, 40% of the beneficiaries are supposed to be women. Although the programme has reached 51 million families, only 27% of the borrowers have been women. The programme has significantly increased the income of 57% of assisted families. Rural poverty is largely a result of low productivity and unemployment. The Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, a national public works scheme launched in 1989 with financing from the central and state governments, provides more than 700 million person days of work a year about 1% of total employment for people with few opportunities for employment. The scheme has two components: a programme to provide low-cost housing and one to supply free irrigation wells to poor and marginalized farmers. The public works scheme is self-targeting. Since it offers employment at the statutory minimum wage for unskilled manual labor, only those willing to accept very low wages the poor are likely to enroll in the scheme. By providing regular employment and thereby increasing the bargaining power of all rural workers, the public works scheme has had a significant effect in reducing poverty. It has also contributed to the construction of rural infrastructure (irrigation works, a soil conservation project, drinking water supply). Evaluations show that 82% of available funds have been channeled to community development projects. Targeting was improved in 1996 when the housing and irrigation well components were delinked and focused exclusively on people below the poverty line. TRYSEM (Training rural youth for self employment) was started to provide technical skills to the rural youth and to help them to get employment in fields

such as agriculture, industry, services and business activities. Youth of the poor families belonging to the age-group of 18-35 are entitled to avail the benefits of the scheme. Priority is given to persons belonging to ST/SC and exservicemen and about 1/3 seats are reserved for women. Minimum Needs Programme was taken up as an integral part of the 5th Five Year Plan and it was intended to cater to the minimum needs of the people such as rural water supply, rural health, road building, adult education, primary education, rural electrification and improvement of the urban slums etc.With the intention of removing urban unemployment some schemes such as SEPUP (Selfemployment programme for the urban poor); SEEUY (Scheme for selfemployment of the educated urban youths) .These schemes gives loans and subsidies for the urban unemployed youths to create or to find for themselves some jobs. The SEPUP had provided financial help for about 1.19 urban unemployed youths in the year 190-91. The participation of civil society organizations in poverty reduction efforts, especially those directed to women, has increased social awareness and encouraged governments to provide better services. Cooperatives such as the Self-Employed Women's Association provide credit to women at market rates of interest but do not require collateral; they also allow flexibility in the use of loans and the timing of repayments. These civil society organizations have not only contributed to women's material well being; they have also helped empower them socially and politically. Such credit initiatives, by bringing women out of the confines of the household, are changing their status within the family and within village hierarchies. The demands of civil society organizations for better social services have spurred the government to launch campaigns to increase literacy and improve public infrastructure. And their calls for greater accountability and real devolution of power are increasing the likelihood that expenditures for poverty reduction will reach the needy, especially women. The Indian state has undoubtedly failed in its responsibilities towards its citizens over the last 50 odd years. There is a need for the state to move out of many areas and the process has been started with economic liberalization. The process of decentralization should devolute lot more powers, both functional and financial, to panchayats. The lack of transparency and accountability has hampered our economic development at all levels. The problem of poverty persists because of a number of leakages in the system. New laws have to be evolved to ensure more accountability. Bodies like the Planning Commission should be modified into new constitutional bodies that can hold governments accountable for their failure to implement development programmes. A strong system of incentives and disincentives also needs to be introduced. The encouragement of non-governmental organizations and private sector individuals in tackling poverty is imperative, as the state cannot do everything.

Public Health System in India

Public health system in India suffers from many problems which includes insufficient funding, shortage of facilities leading to overcrowding and severe shortage of trained health personnel. There is also lack of accountability in the public health delivery mechanisms. These are some of the reasons which have placed India at the lowest rank in the Human Development Index. India however holds top position in migration of physicians to developed countries like UK and the US. According to Planning Commission the country has a shortfall of six lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and two lakh dental surgeons. This has led to a dismal patient-doctor ratio in the country. For every 10,000 Indians, there is just one doctor. The much publicized National Urban Health Mission is yet to see the light of day. The scheme plans to monitor and improve the health of 22 crore people living in urban slums in 429 cities and towns. It was to be launched mid 2008 but the mission is yet to become functional.NURM is aimed at providing accessible, affordable, effective and reliable primary health care facilities especially to urban poor. Even for NHRM there is limited progress due to lack of standardization of medical facilities. India has banned tobacco consumption in public places but only 12 states have started implementing the ban. More than 10 lakh people at present die in India every year due to tobacco consumption. At present more than 57% male and 10.9% female consume tobacco while 15% children consume tobacco. Female feticide continues to tarnish India’s image.The child sex ratio (0-6 years) was 945 (1991 census) and this declined to 927 girls per thousand boys (in 2001 census).The figures are alarming in prosperous states like Punjab(798),Haryana (819),Chandigarh (845),Delhi (868),Gujarat (883) and Himachal Pradesh (896). Number of PHCs,CHC and SCs Year 2007 CHC 4,045 PHC 22,370 SC 1, 45,272

Infant Mortality Rate Year 2007 Rural 61 Urban 37 Total 55

Number of Health Care Workers Doctors PHCs at Specialists PHC at Health workers Male 2007 22,608 5,117 62,881

Year

Health workers

Female 1, 47,439

Universalization of Education in India: Right to Education Bill
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela
India’s greatest wealth lies in its human resources. Universal schooling of decent quality could be the single biggest move it makes towards future prosperity. Towards this end the Government has come up with Right to Education Bill which promises free education for every child in the 6-14 age- group. Education requires substantative not just symbolic action. Merely passing laws without sustained political attention that plugs financial and administrative gaps in the school sector is going to fail. One of the problems of taking a purely legislative view is to define who will be held responsible if a child doesn’t attend school.

A related problem is to set out clearly who will pick up the bill for universal education, estimated to cost Rs 55,000 crore a year to implement. It is supposed to split between the centre and states but the precise arrangement is yet to be known. The most controversial provision of the Bill is to drag the private sector in by imposing an obligation on private schools to take in at least 25% of its students of its students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Their fees will supposedly be paid by the government, a promise it’s unlikely to keep. Providing free education for all should be unambiguously the government’s responsibility. Countries haven’t made rapid strides towards universal literacy by palming off the responsibility on the private sector. That will stunt the growth of the private sector rather than lead to universal literacy.

Educational problems of women in India
In spite of certain outstanding examples of individual achievement of Indian woman and a definite improvement in their general condition over the last one

hundred years, it remains true that our woman still constitute a large body of under - privileged citizens. Women of course do not form a homogenous group in class or caste terms. Nevertheless, they face distinctive problems that call for special attention. The Backward Classes Commission set up by the Government of India in 1953 classified women of India as a backward group requiring special attention. The ministry of Education clubs girls with Scheduled Castes and Tribes as the three most backward groups in education. Ram Manohar Lohia considered the lot of women to be similar to that of Harijans. Realizing the enormity of the problems of Indian women the Government of India has appointed a separate committee on the Status of Women in India, The social backwardness of Indian women points to the great hiatus between their legal status which is more or less equal to that of men, and their actual position in society, which is still far from the ideal which exists on paper. The educational, economic, political and social backwardness of women makes them the largest group hindering the process of rapid social change. It is inevitable that when this ‘backward’ group has the major responsibility of bringing up future generations the advancement of society cannot be rapid or take any significant form of development. In the report of the committee appointed by the National Council for Women’s Education it was emphatically stated that what was needed to convert the equality of women from de jure to be facto status was widespread education for girls and women and a reeducation of men and women to accept new and scientific attitudes towards each other and to themselves. A changing society and a developing economy can not make any headway if education, which is one of the important agents affecting the norms of morality and culture, remains in the hand of traditionalists who subscribe to a fragmented view of the country’s and the world’s heritage. The differences between the positions of men and women in society will not lessen; leave aside disappear, as long as there are differences between the education of men and women. Inadequate education or no education is the most important factor contributing to the backwardness of our masses, especially our womenfolk. It is the low literacy among women which brings national literacy figure so low. This gap which exists between the literacy rates of the two sexes also exists between the enrolment of girls and boys at all levels of education. Right from the primary school to the university, we find that the number of girl students is considerable lower than the number of boy students. According to Article 45 of the Constitution, universal compulsory and free education until the age of 14 was to be achieved by the year 1960. Looking at the present condition of primary education in villages, it seems doubtful that 100 per cent enrolment of girls can be achieved by the end of this century. There is no doubt that we have made great headway in the education of women in the last century. It is unfortunately true of our society that children are sent to school not according to their intelligence or aptitude but according to their sex. Such attitudes need to be changed without further delay if we want to achieve 100 per cent enrolment of the primary schoolgoing children. Although the disparity between the enrolment of girls and boys has been lessening in the urban areas, the gap between their enrolments is still very wide specially in rural areas. The reasons for this are both economic and social.

The economic structure of rural areas is such that children, especially girls, are required to help in household work and perform their chores. Young girls have to look after their younger brothers and sisters, have to get water from the well, have to carry food to the father in the field, etc. Since there is so much to be done at home, they cannot be spared for the luxury of attending a school. The resources of the poor farmer are so limited that he does not have anything to spare for the education of his children. If there are resources available it the boy who is sent to school first. Parents also do not see the value of educating their children specially daughters who would get married after all and be only housewives. Since they cannot see any direct relationship between education and economic betterment, they have very little motivation to send their children to school. It is still not being realized that there is definite connection between education, good motherhood and efficient house management. The management of millions of household and the upbringing of millions of children in thus is the hands of illiterate women. It is here that a change is required if our democratic and socialistic intensions are not to remain a mere pretence. People can be motivated to have their children educated only if educational system is directly linked with economic and social development. As long as our education remains oblivious of the felt needs of people to solve their immediate problems and on the contrary, actually alienates them from their natural, social and cultural surroundings, they will rightly resist sending their children to school. It is the area of primary education, especially in rural areas, which should be given maximum attention. Primary education for both girls and boys is what we should be concerned about while planning our policies and allocation funds. It is this sector of our education structure that gets neglected in favor of all sorts of institutes of ‘higher learning’ and ‘research’ of a kind that are neither relevant nor pertinent to our pressing problems. The role of women outside home is becoming an important and even essential feature of our present day reality.

Alcoholism
It is now generally recognized that alcohol like the opium products is a narcotic. But alcoholism constitutes a special problem because of the wider use of alcohol and because of its entrenchment in the social customs. Alcoholism is

a condition in which the individual has lost control over his alcohol intake in that he is constantly unable to refrain from drinking once he begins. According to Adolf Meyer alcoholism is the development of an insistent craving for alcohol and its effects. It is also defined as that condition characterized by a relatively permanent, persistent desire for alcohol for the sake of its anticipated effects upon body and mind. For Keller and Efron alcoholism is characterized by the repeated drinking of alcoholic beverages to an extent that exceeds customary use or compliance with the social customs of the community and that interferes with the drinker’s health or his social or economic functioning. Broadly speaking alcoholism has been characterized by four factors • Excessive intake of alcoholic beverages • Individual’s increasing worry over his drinking • Loss of the drinker’s control over his own drinking • Disturbance in his functioning in the social world Studies have been made only to throw scientific light upon the question as to why people are addicted to the immoderate use of alcohol. In the study of chronic alcoholics it was found that a certain percentage of inebriates are pathological individuals referred as constitutional alcoholics. The industrialization of society and the mechanization of the industry have put strains upon individuals to which the previous experience of the race has not adapted. The social conventions incite the formation of alcoholic habits. The pressure of social customs has exerted an important influence in the production of alcoholism. There are certain persons who are unable to face the harsh realities of life and start drinking to overcome their inadequacy. Men engaged in manual work have long been deluded in the belief that alcohol furnishes added strength and vigour with which they can pursue their labour. Men drink because their occupation has completely exhausted them. They look forward eagerly to the respite which intoxication affords after the heat of the blast furnace or the stench of the dockyards. Excessive consumption of alcohol can make a person addicted to it. An addict is one whose drinking habit causes several problems in one or more areas of his life for instance his family relationships, jobs, financial status etc. And in spite of all these problems, he will continue to drink alcohol because his body gets so accustomed over a period of time to the presence of alcohol that if its use is stopped suddenly he will develop withdrawal symptoms like tremors, fits etc. Such a state is called physical dependence. Alcohol becomes so central to his thoughts, emotions and activities that he is simply unable to think of anything else. This condition is called psychological dependence. Alcoholic addiction is a disease rather than lack of will power or moral weakness. Unless the person stops drinking, his/her condition will become worse over a period of time. Jellinck an American psychologist maintains that a drinker passes through various stages to become an alcoholic. These are: -

1. Blackouts in which the individual is not able to find a solution to his individual problems. 2. Sneaking drinks in which he takes alcohol without being observed. 3. Increased tolerance, in which he tolerates the increased effects of drinking. 4. Loss of control in which he fails to control the desire of not taking alcohol. 5. Development of an alibi system in which he gradually starts neglecting his social roles. 6. Going on periodic benders 7. Regular drinking in which he starts taking alcohol in the morning. The problem of alcoholism in terms of personal misery, family budget, discord, and loss of wages, failure of health, accidents and cost in damage claims, cost of hospital treatment, cost in custodial treatment, inducement to crime are almost disastrous. A good number of persons arrested for crimes like rape, burglary, murder and theft are those who committed them under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is a major factor in the highway accidents. Since alcoholism affects the family members, friends and even the community, it affects millions of people in the country. Drinking reduces one’s operational activities and efficiency to below the minimum level necessary for social existence. There are various programmes and measures for alcohol treatment: • Detoxification in hospitals: Alcohols need medical care and medical supervision. Tranquilizers are used for treating their withdrawal symptoms like hallucinations. Vitamins and electrolyte balance are used for physical rehabilitation. • Involving an alcoholic’s family in his treatment and rehabilitation enhances the chances of success by 75 to 80%. • One of the effective social therapies, which use group interactions, is Alcoholics Anonymous. It is an organization of ex-alcoholics, which started in USA in early 1940s.In this, the members share, their experience with other alcoholics and give them strength and hope in an attempt to solve their common problems and recover from alcoholism. These associations are located in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata etc. • Treatment centres: These centres are developed as alternative centres to hospital treatment having 10-12 residents. Counselling and anti-drinking rules are observed. • Changing values through education: Some voluntary organizations undertake educational and information programmes to alert the alcoholics to the danger of excessive drinking. Social workers help the drinkers in coping with life and changing the social values and attitudes about drinking. There should be active community involvement against drinking.Nationwide prohibition of intoxicating drinks may check smuggling of liquor into the dry areas from the wet areas. Drinking is a social problem and mere legalistic approach to prohibition is not likely to succeed. Education, persuasion, creation of public opinion and number of other positive measures has to be taken if prohibition were to succeed reasonably. The media portrayal of drinking should

be banned. Government should encourage and provide financial help to voluntary social and other non-governmental organizations engaged in deaddiction programmes and prohibition campaigns

Population –The trends in India
India @ Risk 2007, a report published during the India Economic Summit, 2007 has revealed following important facts: • Growing India: India is the world's second most populous country and is expected to be the most populous by 2040.The country is undergoing the same forces of demographic transition that have been experienced elsewhere, only delayed by few decades. • Young India: Over 700 million Indians are below 35 years of age and over 550 million are below 25.However despite its youthful population, India's size means that it is home to the second largest number of older people in the world, in absolute terms. • Unequal India: The rising income gap is creating an urban-rural divide and a north-south imbalance. A quarter of India's population lives below the poverty line with most living off the land on small farms with little access to new technology. • Urbanizing India: Almost 70% of Indians still reside in rural areas although in recent decades migration to larger cities has led to a dramatic increase in the country's urban population. • Mega city India: India is home to around 18% of the world's population but accounts for only 2.42% of the total world area; the emergence of mega cities is inevitable. • Aspirational India: The emerging middle class will surge tenfold; exceeding 500 million by 2025.It will command 60% of the country's spending power.

Polio in India -Latest Situation
India has earned itself the dubious distinction of having the world's highest number of polio cases in just 2 months of 2008.According to Global Polio Eradication Initiative Data ,India has recorded 82 polio cases till Feb 27.In comparison three other countries Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan have together recorded just 23 cases in the same period. On March 6 Indian has 106 confirmed polio cases of which 105 are P3 strains and one case of P1infection.According to Mr Ramadoss Union Health Minister the country's polio programme is failing to

achieve its purpose.Over half of the world's polio cases were reported in the country last year. Bihar which reported 193 fresh cases of the crippling disease in 2007 has been exporting polio strains across the country. Experts have now marked out 72 blocks in the state as high risk. In 2007 90% of P1cases were found in these blocks along the Kosi River. According to the officials additional human resources are being provided to strengthen the polio campaign in these difficult areas. By March end 300 community mobilizers are being appointed in these blocks who will impress upon locals on the benefits and importance of polio immunization. Five immunization rounds in the first half of 2008 and three rounds in the second half have been planned. In Bihar special focus will be directed to the 72 high risk clusters.P1 causes paralysis in 1 out of every 200 children as compared to P3 which causes paralysis in 1 out of every 1000 infections

Literacy in India
Literacy is an effective instrument for social and economic development and national integration. It is defined in Census operations, as the ability to read and write with understanding in any language. Any formal education or minimum educational standard is not necessary to be considered literate. The latest census report (2001) reveal that at the beginning of new millennium literacy rate in India stands at 65.38% with male literacy level at 75.85%and female literacy level at 54.16%. There has been only marginal increase in literacy level from the last census in 1991 (literacy level was 52.2%). The pace of progress in literacy rates, as revealed by decennial censuses, is very slow in India. Between 1961 and 1991, a span of thirty years, literacy rate has gone up by a mere 23.9 percentage points, from 28.3 in 1961 to 52.2 in 1991.From 1991 to 2001 there is 13.36%increase. However the literacy scenario in India is characterized by wide inequalities among different sections of the population. The female literacy rate is still low in comparison to male population. Country's half of the female population is still illiterate even after so many years of independence. No less disturbing is the rural-urban disparity in literacy rates that again differ by ever a wider margin the disparity has persisted over the years. The scheduled castes and scheduled tribes form two other specially disadvantaged population groups in India and disparity in their case too is equally wide and persisting. Finally, there again exists a wide disparity among the various regions/states in India vis-à-vis their literacy rates. At the top of the hierarchy, lies the state of Kerala that has an exceptionally high literacy rate of 90.92 %. This is basically because of strong social movements in this state even during the pre-independence period. For Bihar (the least literate state) the rate is merely 47.53 %.In Bihar, Kishanganj district has the lowest literacy rate (31% for males and 18.49% for females) When illiteracy begins to impinge upon livelihoods issues it becomes critical. Illiteracy often results in missed opportunities. Women usually receive lower wages than men. In Kishanganj district of

Bihar women and girls work in the tea gardens and brickklins but as they are illiterate they often get exploited and do not get proper wages. Both men and women often earn less than the minimum wage but they are often unaware of the Minimum Wages Act. Illiteracy and lack of information can adversely affect human rights. In an era when technology has shrunk the world into a global village and when information has been brought to the fingertips of a small section of society, it would be unfortunate if the masses were denied access to basic information due to the inability to read and write. During the first Five Year Plan, the program of Social Education, inclusive of literacy, was introduced as part of the Community Development Program 1952. The National Policy on Education in 1968 not only endorsed the recommendations of the Education Commission but also reiterated the significance of universal literacy and developing adult and continuing education as matters of priority. While the formal elementary education program was supplemented by a Non-formal Education system, it was also decided to undertake Adult Literacy programs culminating in the Total Literacy mission approach. (a) A multi-pronged approach of universalization of elementary education and universal adult literacy has been adopted for achieving total literacy. (b) A systematic program of non-formal education in the educationally backward states. (c) The National Literacy Mission that aims at making 100 million adults literate. The major thrust of these programs is on promotion of literacy among women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes particularly in the rural areas. The Adult Education Program consists of three components: basic literacy (including numeracy), functionality and civic awareness. The third component is obviously literacy. The National Adult Education Program (NAEP) was inaugurated on October 2, 1978. Then came the National Literacy Mission (NLM). In 1989, the district-based Total Literacy Campaigns (TLC) emerged as a program strategy for the National Literacy Mission against this background. In the budget of 1999-2000, the total allocation of resources (both Plan and non-plan) for the four programs of Elementary Education, Operation Black board, Non-formal education and Adult Education was 3037, 400, 350 and 113.4 crores respectively. The Total Literacy campaign districts had been set the optimistic goal of achieving 80% literacy amongst the target age-group of 15-35 years. Now Sarva Shikha Abiyan is doing rounds in all the districts in most of the states for which there is huge fund allocation under 9th and 10th Five year plans. In spite of the enormous expansion of adult education, nonformal and elementary education in India, the problem of illiteracy has been lingering on. It is both colossal and complex given the size of the country, its huge population, wide regional and gender disparities, economic and other cultural factors such as poverty, communalism, casteism etc. It needs action from people, communities Government agencies, NGOs and international organizations such as UN bodies to totally eradicate illiteracy from India.

Dowry System in India
Dowry is derived from the ancient Hindu customs of "kanyadan" and "stridhan". In

"kanyadan", the father of the bride offers the father of the groom money or property, etc. whereas for "stridhan", the bride herself gets jewelry and clothes at the time of her marriage, usually from her relatives or friends. In "varadakshina", the father of the bride presents the groom cash or kind. All of these could be done voluntarily and out of affection and love. The Hindu marriage system is sacramental. According to this system, a marriage is forever, and there is no scope for a separation. Among the various ceremonies previously practiced, the ceremony in front of a "godly" fire ("Yajna" in Sanskrit) has taken over, the antiquated system of "marrying a wife by capture. This form of marriage began the practice of dowry, where originally, the family of the bride would accept gifts and money from the groom's (potential conqueror's) family as an alternative to bloodshed during the capture of the bride. A later modification of this system has paved way for the present dowry system primarily practiced by the society.

The dowry custom continues to rule society. In majority of Indian families the boy has inheritance rights while the girl is given a hefty sum at the time of her marriage in lieu of the Government regulated equal rights for girls in parental property. The evil of the dowry system has spread its tentacles in almost all parts of the country and sections of society. There are several reasons for the prevalence of the dowry system, but the main one is that it is a necessary precondition for marriage. "No dowry, no marriage," is a widespread fear. There has also been an emergence of a feudal mindset with a materialistic attitude in a new globalized economy. The price tag for the groom is now bigger and bolder. The emergence of an affluent middle class, the torchbearer of social change in modern India, is the main factor for the perpetuation of the dowry system. Families arrange most marriages, and a man who does not marry for love learns he can marry for possessions. For this man, and his family, a woman becomes the ticket to shortcut riches through the system of dowry. There are a number of things people desire to have in their own houses but cannot afford; they use the opportunity of a son's marriage to get them. The girl's parents do not protest against the blatant extravaganza, as they regard the alliance as a stepping-stone towards higher social status and better matches for the remaining children. Dowry as a phenomenon has gone beyond the ritual of marriage. Pregnancy, childbirth and all kinds of religious and family functions are occasions when such demands are made. A more sophisticated public image of an extended gifting session has replaced the old system. Now there is demand for receptions in marriage palaces. The trousseau includes designer wear for the bride and groom's family. Chefs are flown in for multi-cuisine wedding dinners. The bride's family usually pays for all this. The rich revel in the exchange of their black money, but this in turn exerts pressure on the other classes to ape them with serious social consequences. The women have become a kind of commodity. It is them who are the worst sufferers because dowry is most often a monetary agreement between two men - the bride's father and the groom. Caste-based practices have only added fuel to the fire. Marriages in political families are arranged to consolidate the caste base for support in electoral politics, so they do not challenge the dowry system. Dowry rituals have now spread even to communities where they were unknown. It has gone to different castes, crossed the boundaries of provinces and education and religion. Muslims and Christians, such as the Syrian Christians of Kerala and the Roman Catholics of Mangalore have started demanding dowry.

Official statistics show a steady rise in dowry crimes. More than 9, 5000 women are killed every year in India over dowry. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh still record the maximum number of dowry crimes, but Bangalore, India's fastest growing city also shows an alarming rise - four women reportedly die every day because of dowry harassment and domestic violence. The cases of dowry torture are the highest accounting for 32.4% of crimes against women in the country. The Dowry Prohibition Act, in force since 1st July 1961, was passed with the purpose of prohibiting the demanding, giving and taking of dowry. In 1980 the Government set up a committee which recommended amendments in the Dowry Prohibition Act and also suggested expanding the definition of dowry and instituting family courts and National Commission for women. Many parliamentary debates led to some amendments in 1983,1984 and 1986.To stop the offences of cruelty by husband or his relatives on the wife, Section 498-A was added in the Indian Penal Code and Section 198-A in the Criminal Procedure Code in the year 1983. The Dowry Prohibition Act clearly stipulates that a person who gives or takes or helps in the giving or taking of dowry can be sentenced to jail for 5 years and fined Rs.15, 000/- or the amount of the value of dowry, whichever is more. The Act also prohibits the giving and taking directly or indirectly any property or valuable security, any amount either in cash of kind, jewelry, articles, properties, etc. in respect of a marriage. The control is provided by stating a limit and names of gifters and their relationship to the married couple to be signed by both sides of parents. In 1986, the Act was amended again, empowering State governments to appoint Dowry Prohibition Officers, who not only had a preventive role but also had powers to collect evidence against people who took dowry. Despite protest by women's organizations, serious activism, legal amendments, special police cells for women, media support and heightened awareness of dowry being a crime, the practice continues unabated on a massive scale. Despite every stigma, dowry continues to be the signature of marriage. Women need real social, political, financial and moral support in their fight against the system. They have to be empowered so that they can take their decisions about their own life by refusing the dowry system.

Domestic Violence
"…the wife: however brutal or tyrant she may unfortunately be chained tothough she may know that he hates her, though it may be his daily pleasure to torture her, and though she may feel it impossible not to loathe him- (he)can claim from her and enforce the lowest degration of a human being ,that of being made an instrument of an animal function contrary to her inclinations." John Stuart Mill The above lines reflect the brutality that one out of every three women has to face at the hands of their husbands, fathers, brothers and uncles in their homes around the globe. Domestic violence can be described as when one adult in a relationship misuses power to control another. It is the establishment of control and fear in the relationship through violence and other forms of abuse.

It is basically an abuse of power. The abuser tortures and controls the victim by calculated threats, intimidation and physical violence. Although men, women and children can all be abused, in most cases the victims are women. In every country where reliable, large-scale studies have been conducted, results indicate that between 16 and 52% of women have been assaulted by their husbands\partners. These studies also indicate widespread violence against women as an important cause of morbidity and mortality. These physical attacks may also include rape and sexual violence. Psychological violence includes verbal abuse, harassment, confinement and deprivation of physical, financial and personal resources. For some women emotional abuse may be more painful than the physical attacks because they effectively undermine women's security and self-confidence. Violence within the home is universal across culture, religion, class and ethnicity. The abuse is generally condoned by social custom and considered part and parcel of marital life .An example of this can be seen through the gist of a popular Spanish riddle: Question: What do mules and women have in common? Answer: A good beating makes them both better." The statistics reveal grim picture of the realities prevalent in developing and developed countries alike.
 In the United States a women is beaten every 18 minutes; between 3 million and 4 million are battered each year, but only 1 in 10 cases of domestic violence is ever reported.  In the United Kingdom, 1 in 3 families is a victim of assault and 1 in 5 a victim of serious assault, according to a recent report by the home office.  In Austria, in 59%of 1500 divorce cases, domestic violence is cited as a cause in the marital breakdown.  In India the records of National Crimes Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs government of India revealed a shocking 71.5% Increase in cases of torture and dowry deaths during the period from 1991 to 1995 .In 1995, torture of women constituted 29.2%of all reported crimes against women.  In Bangladesh, half of the 170 reported cases of women murdered between 1983 and 1985 took place within the confines of the homes.

The question arises why women put up with the abuse in the home? The answer lies in their unequal status in society. They are often caught in a vicious circle of economic dependence, fear for their children's lives as well as their own, ignorance of their rights before the law, lack of confidence in themselves and social pressures. These factors effectively force women to a life of recurrent mistreatment from which they often do not have the means to escape. The sanctity of privacy within the family also makes authorities reluctant to intervene, often leads women to deny they are being abused. This is equally common in the higher as well as in the lower segments of a society. A woman who files a charge of abuse is often forced to drop it by her husband's family if she wants an uncontested divorce. Social prejudices reinforce domestic violence against women. They are treated as their spouses' property; husbands assume that this subordinate role gives them right to abuse their wives in order to keep them in their place. Against this background is the tradition of dowry, an expectation of gifts and cash from the bride's family, one can imagine the anxiety these expectations may cause to a woman and the consequences she has to face if it is inadequate. Women's physical and mental health is often permanently damaged or impaired and in some cases violence can have fatal consequences as in the case of dowry deaths in India. Physical torture as well as mental torture usually occurs on a regular basis causing suffering and inflicting deep scars on the psyche of the victims and

their families. Many assault incidents result in injuries ranging from bruises and fractures to chronic disabilities. Domestic violence has devastating repercussions on the family. Mothers are unable to care for their children properly. Often they transmit to them their own feelings of low self-esteem, helplessness and inadequacy. Violence against women is the most pervasive human rights violation in world today. We need to think and ponder as how this form of degradation of women can be stopped. It needs support from all quarters be it government, NGOs and women themselves. There is also a need to improve women's economic capacities that include access to and control of income and assets and also share in the family's property. The government should strengthen and expand training and sensitization programs.
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From The Economist (9th Oct 2003) an article on the perceived corruption of countries. Finland remains the least-corrupt country in the world, according to the latest annual index compiled by Transparency International, a Berlin-based organisation. The index, which measures perceived levels of corruption, focuses on the misuse of public office for private gain. The United States ranks as the 18th least-corrupt country, only a little less so than Chile. Botswana is reckoned to be less corrupt than Italy.

India ranks 83 in the list of least-corrupt countries. Finland is the least corrupt and ranks first; Singapore is fifth; Botswana is ranked 30th — thus leading India by about 50 places. In the Indian neighborhood, there are no clean countries. On a scale where 10 is the cleanest, India gets a score of 2.8 (with a standard deviation of 0.4, a fairly low standard deviation.) Compared to that, China scores marginally higher at 3.5 but has a greater standard deviation of 1.0 and therefore the estimated error is larger. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh both score — surprise, surprise — lower than India. Pakistan gets a 2.5 with a large 0.9 standard deviation, and Bangladesh has the dubious distinction of being the least uncorrupt country of the 133 surveyed by Transparency International and has a score of 1.3 (std deviation 0.7). I suppose if Sri Lanka were in that list, it would get a higher score than India. And I also suppose that the northern states of India (UP, Bihar, etc.) would be more found to be more corrupt than the southern states (Kerala, AP, TN). Corruption and Underdevelopment It is no mystery that underdevelopment and high degrees of corruption are highly correlated. There are causal links between the two and most likely these are bidirectional. Corruption is endogenous in most systems and clearly reflect the dominant cultural traits. In India, the web of corruption probably has a bureaucratic core. A vast bureaucracy that is instituted to control every aspect of economic life creates the incentives for individual and institutionalized corruption. Then the “democratic” political system uses that bureaucracy to extract rents that are used for fueling the vast political machinery. Dismantling the bureaucracy would be the first step to fixing the problem of corruption in India, followed by reduction of the public sector. This would lead to reduced rents that political parties could extract through the bureaucratic machinery and have the salutary effect of getting rent-seeking thugs out of the political system in India. India’s development is critically dependent on reducing corruption.