BSY could have learnt from Kejriwal

BSY could have learnt from Kejriwal

While Karnataka’s budget for 2020-21 does not inspire confidence, what is most disappointing is that Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has fallen into the usual trap of spending on populist schemes and loan waivers instead of investing on education and healthcare, which could immensely benefit the state in the long run. The allotment for education is just 11% of the budget, while for health and family welfare it is even worse at a mere 4%. While the allotment for education in the Union budget saw a small increase this year, it still constitutes way below the 6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that has been recommended as the ideal allocation for education since the 1960s. The allocation for healthcare is in the range of 1% of GDP, compared to the 2.5% target set in the National Health Policy. Traditionally, India has invested much less on education and health, but Yediyurappa could have bucked the trend and presented a visionary budget.

Karnataka should have taken a leaf out of Delhi which in its 2019-20 budget allotted 27.8% to education and 13.8% to health. Investing on education is critical as 50% of India’s population is below 25 years of age. Sadly, according to the IMD World Talent Ranking report, India has slipped six places to rank 59 on a global annual list of 63 countries due to the low quality of life and expenditure on education. The report, which slams the poor quality of education and low pupil-teacher ratio, says the country’s public spending on education is not enough to either attract foreign talent or develop indigenous top brains. In the health sector,  with even countries like Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Thailand spending higher than India, it would be wise to take the views of the World Economic Forum seriously, “Investing in the health system not only saves lives, it is also a crucial investment in the wider economy. This is because ill-health impairs productivity, hinders job prospects and adversely affects human capital development.”

While free public education is a fundamental right, in reality, private institutions have turned the sector into a multi-billion-rupee profit industry. Similarly, 70% of the healthcare expenditure is borne by the individual consumer, with the per capita spend by the government being among the lowest in the world. Unless the government invests heavily on education and healthcare, the growing youth population will turn out to be a liability instead of an asset.  By neglecting both these vital sectors, Karnataka, like much of India, has lost a golden opportunity, and so has Yediyurappa.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)