Massive increase in expenditure on social sector: Survey

New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) The central government has increased the expenditure on social sector ‘massively’ from 10.46 percent in 2003-04 to 19.46 per cent in 2009-10, said the Economic Survey for this fiscal.

‘India’s commitment towards increased social welfare and well being of its people can be gauged by the massive increase in the share of central government expenditure on social services including rural development,’ it said.

‘Central government’s expenditure on social services and rural development has gone up consistently over the years. The share of central government expenditure on social services including rural development in total expenditure has increased from 10.46 per cent in 2003-04 to 19.46 per cent in 2009-10,’ according to the survey, tabled in the Lok Sabha Thursday by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

‘Central support for social programmes has continued to expand in various forms although most social-sector subjects fall within the purview of the states,’ it added.

The survey points out that as per the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report 2009, the Human Development Index (HDI) for India in 2007 was 0.612, with improvement in HDI being better than for most comparable countries.

It states that while the trend indicating improvement in HDI is heartening, there is no room for complacency, as India is still in the medium human development category.

The survey revealed that the government has taken many measures for expansion in the scope and coverage of social security scheme for unorganised workers to assure them minimum level of social protection.

‘In the Aam Adami Bima Yojana up to September 2009, 81.99 lakh (8.199 million) lives have been insured. As part of the Rashtriya Swasthaya Bima Yojana more than 97 lakh (9.7 million) smart cards have been issued upto Jan 12, 2010,’ it said.

The survey said that the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008 came into force with effect from May 2009, under the aegis of which the National Social Security Board has been constituted.

‘The board has made some recommendations regarding extension of social security schemes to certain additional segments of unorganised workers,’ it added.

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