04 November 2011
By Madhavi Rajadhyaksha
Maharashtra’s poor social sector spending, particularly on healthcare and education, has come in for criticism from the Planning Commission in its recently released India Human Development Report 2011. The state government spent a paltry 0.5% of its state domestic product (SDP) on healthcare. The corresponding education expenditure was 1.3%, the lowest spending among all major states.
TOI vetted the report for state–level data and found that poorer states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh had more impressive spending than Maharashtra, which is considered an industrialized state. They spent 4.7% and 3.2% of their SDP respectively on education and a corresponding 1.1% and 0.9% of their SDP on health services in the comparative period of 2007–08.
“Health–related indicators such as body–mass index of women and underweight children point towards less–thanfunctional healthcare services in Maharashtra, despite it having the third highest SDP per capita in the country,” noted the report. The Kothari commission had in 1966 underlined the need for 6% of national and state incomes to be spent on education; the report outlined how it remains a distant dream.