Economic Survey links infrastructure with social reforms to boost growth

Calling for integration of socio-economic services, the Economic Survey 2019-20 has proposed the amalgamation of physical infrastructure and social reforms to ensure sustainable development. 

Suggesting a new approach, ‘Nexus of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’, it said this will reinforce several policies and their implementation.

“Since a few SDGs have overlapping objectives with one another, the policies developed and aligned to achieve the goals must consider and identify these linkages. And, in-turn, identify the potential trade-offs that might limit the physical achievement of the target under a goal,” said the Survey.

SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are to be achieved by the year 2030.  This includes clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, industry innovation and infrastructure, life on land, peace, justice and social institutions, zero hunger and gender equality.

The Survey suggested interlinking electricity supply with health and education. “It is observed that with electricity, the schools’ access to modern methods and techniques of teaching helps holistic development of students and increases their attraction towards learning,” said the Survey.

The Survey observed that states with lower literacy rates have low electricity supply at schools and vice-versa. Many of the health improvement schemes – providing paediatric care, newborn emergency services, and successful vaccination – rely heavily on the availability of electricity at the health centres. “There is a positive relationship between electricity consumption and fall in the infant mortality rate (IMR) in the country,” said the Survey.

The Survey made note of several states to denote link between electrification of schools and net enrolment. While states with high ‘human development index (HDI)’ have shown positive relation between electrification and school enrolment, for low HDI states, it is dismal. “It then becomes obvious that schools having quality and reliable power would generally tend to have the facilities that the government is providing under its Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme,” said the Survey.

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