Development in India

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The question of whether or not India is a developed or developing country is not so simple that it can be measured by the yardstick of the number of billionaires or a mission to the moon. To understand the real India, we need to look at many other indicators, such as health and education too. I think the level of development in a country is directly proportionate to the way we choose to treat our children, elderly and the disabled.

As far as India is concerned, we might score very highly in terms of growth of physical infrastructure, but most of the public places are inaccessible to people with disabilities. As per the 2011 census, India has about 2.7 million people with disabilities, and only a handful of those enjoy education and/or employment. We are spending less than 4% of our GDP on important areas of education and health. Almost 12% of our children (between 5 and 15 years) are identified as child labor, and we have about 2.4 million people living with HIV/Aids.
Almost 25% of my fellow Indians are poor – in the same India where millions use smartphones. Within India, there are many different countries. One is high-flying and tech-savvy, [with people] driving flashy cars in and out of top-starred hotels and clubs. Another is white-collared middle class. And another is still struggling to survive. There is no doubt that in some areas we are a developed country and, as far as people with disability are concerned, we have created facilities and a support system. But in many areas, we still have a long way to go. Now I leave it to you to decide whether you perceive India as developing or not!

From the Guardian 7 April 2014 By Akhil Paul, director of Sense International India

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