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UNIT III CURRENT CHALLENGES FACING INDIAN ECONOMY In this unit, you will be exposed to some of the challenges that the Indian economy is facing. Needless to mention, we shall be discussing three perennial problems that we have been struggling with. These are population, poverty and unemployment. It is often emphasised that much of economic development is hampered because of lack of quality infrastructure. We have already learnt about the progress we have made in the last fifty years in some of infrastructure services. Here, we shall review them from the angle of the kind of challenges they are facing. The infrastructure covered shall, however, be only energy, transport, communication, health and education. In the last chapter we shall be concerned with some other emerging issues. The issues that have been identified are environment, gender and migration.
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C HAPTER 8 Population in India Introduction There was a time when growth in population was considered desirable. There are societies--both developed and undeveloped--where growth of popula- tion is still considered desirable. Many European nations have instituted incentives for larger families. There are, however, occasions, when societies considered the population growth undesirable, particularly if the growth is rapid . In India, the growth in population has been considered high and undesirable, right from the thirties when it was discovered that population between 1921 and 1931 increased by more than 10 per cent. Thereafter, it rose at still higher rates and in the second half of the century, at more than twice this rate. Population provides workforce to produce on one hand and market for the produce on the other. A small size population may not promote innovation and thereby productivity. It may not promote specialisation and division of labour. A large size population may provide too many hands that may not be absorbed. It may also create problems for environment and resources. Whenever the issue of overpopulation is raised, some either do not accept it or, if they accept, they put the blame on the system, its institutions and technology. In fact, whether a given population is large or small is in relation to the resources and technology that the people have command over, on the one hand, and the levels of living enjoyed and expected by the people, on the other. Anyway, as long as the system is in place, we may need to reduce the rate of growth of population. Size is one aspect. There are other aspects of population, which are equally important. One is of course the growth in size. Another that should interest us is the composition of population in terms of sex and age. Whether there are too many children or too few? Whether there are too many old persons or too few? Whether we have too many adult hands
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