Skip to main content

Gujarat social sector spending poor, not commensurate with economic growth: RBI

By Rajiv Shah
Gujarat government’s claim that its social sector expenditure has been on a radical upswing – an urgent requirement considering the state’s known poor performance in health, education, water resources and poverty alleviation – appears to have gone phut. If the latest Reserve Bank of India (RBI) document “State Finances: A Study of Budgets 2014-15”, is any guide, Gujarat ranks 14th among 18 non-special category states in spending funds for the social sector, despite a high rate of growth.
Measured as proportion to Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), the state’s social sector expenditure in 2014-15 was 6.4 per cent of the GSDP in the financial year 2014-15, RBI data show. As per cent of GSDP, the poorer states have performed much better, suggests RBI, with Bihar topping the list with 15.1 per cent of the GSDP, followed closely by Chhattisgarh (14.7 per cent).
On the other hand, “richer” states, following Gujarat, have equally formed poorly -- Maharashtra speding 6.1 per cent of GSDP, Tamil Nadu 6.1 per cent, Haryana 6 per cent and Punjab 5.2 per cent. Economists consider calculating social sector expenditure as percentage of GSDP an imporatant indictor suggesting whether the benefits of economic growth are being passed on to the socially and economically disadvantaged sections of population.
In yet another measurement – social sector expenditure as per cent of total budgetary spending – again Gujarat is found to be performing worse than nine other states, ranking No 10th. While Gujarat’s social sector spending was 43.2 per cent of the budget, RBI data suggest, the best performing state was Chhattisgarh with 55.4 per cent, followed by Bihar (52 per cent) and Jharkhand (51.2 per cent).
A further insight into the social sector shows that Gujarat’s lag vis-à-vis other states is mainly in the field of education. Despite the much-publicized Kanya Kelavni drive to enroll children, especially girls, in primary schools, Gujarat spent 15.8 per cent of its budget on education in 2014-15. RBI data show, this was the worse than nine other states. Here again, Bihar, spending 21.4 per cent of the budget on education, tops, followed by Chhattisgarh (20.1 per cent) and Maharashtra (18.8 per cent).
RBI data, however, show that Gujarat’s ranks much better on spending on healthcare with 5.4 per cent of the total budgetary spending, which is worse than only three states – Rajasthan (6.6 per cent), Kerala (5.5 per cent) and Goa (5.5 per cent). On healthcare spending, Bihar performs very poorly with just about 4.1 per cent of the budget. The worst performer on this score is Andhra Pradesh (4 per cent of the budget). 
The data, released in May second week, come against the backdrop of Gujarat government claim that it had set aside a bigger amount, 48 per cent of the annual plan for 2015-16, for the social sector. However, experts say, the proof of pudding is in eating – it is difficult to say whether the state government will be able to spend the amount it has allocated for the social sector.
State finance minister Saurabh Patel, presenting the budget in February-end 2015, had claimed that he had “allocated” more on health, education, women and child development and malnutrition, adding, for the first time, the state has introduced gender-based budgeting, with many of its new schemes directed at upliftment of girls and women. This was done because Gujarat a woman chief minister, he insisted.

Comments

TRENDING

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

'Attack on free expression': ABVP 'insults' Udaipur professor for FB post

Counterview Desk   People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, condemning what it called "insult of Professor Himanshu Pandya" by students affiliated with with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) in Udaipur, has said he was evicted from the class where he was teaching after raising "ugly slogans", forcing him to "leave the university".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Moving towards sustainable development? Social, environmental implications of HCES data

By Dr Vandana Sehgal, Dr Amandeep Kaur*  Sustainable development, the high time agenda, encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions, aiming for a balance between all these aspects to ensure long-term well-being and prosperity for all. One of the crucial aspects of sustainable development is consumption patterns. Consumption patterns refer to the way individuals, households, and societies use resources and goods. Sustainable consumption patterns entail using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, and considering the environmental and social impacts of consumption choices.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".

Heatwave in Bundelkhand: 'Inadequate attention' on impact on birds, animals

By Bharat Dogra, Reena Yadav*  While the heat wave and its many-sided adverse impacts have been widely discussed in recent times, one important aspect of heat waves has not received adequate attention and this relates to the impact on birds and animals.