We know that India is poor, but often we are embarrassed to admit. We are all too comfortable in calling ourselves a nation that was once a “Sone Ki Chidiya”. That gives us false pride and complacency which prohibits our ambition to grow. The poor infrastructure on roads, ports and power is for all to know. We cannot avoid but face them on daily basis. But the state of affairs in health care is something that remains hidden from our eyes. Perhaps that’s because none of the well read and well earning citizens of India go to a government hospital for treatment. It is somewhat similar to the state of education. While the top 5% of population in India would opt for private schools, the rest of India is dependent on government schools which run out of power, hygiene, books and teachers.
India’s biggest capital resource is its people. Health & Education are the key in their productivity. If we don’t take care of this, then the so called “Demographic Dividend” will become “Demographic Devil”. The stories of government hospitals without medicine, beds, machines and doctors is just too common to ignore. You can check with your house maid to know the facts.
When compared internationally, developing countries like Indonesia have twice more beds than India for every 1000 people. Japan takes care of its people the best. It has 13 beds per 1000 people, in comparison to 0.43 in India. We should stop making excuses of being a poor nation and therefore not be compared with the developed world. The developed nations have become developed because they invested their limited resources well in Education, Healthcare and R&D. If India doesn’t spend constructively on this, then we will continue to remain a developing nation only. Comparing ourselves with Pakistan & Bangladesh will not take us anywhere. Let us look for better benchmarks to grow.