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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA

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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Poverty eradication remains the overriding priority for India. The challenge is to find a development path that is not only sustainable but is also socially just and culturally acceptable. India has set a target for the eradication of absolute poverty by the year 2002.  

India has a three pronged strategy for poverty eradication: economic growth and overall development; human development with emphasis on health, education and minimum needs, including protection of human rights and raising the social status of the weak and the poor; and directly targeted programmes for poverty alleviation through employment generation, training, and building up the poor's asset endowment.  Removal of poverty has always been one of the main objectives of India's Five Year Plans. The Eighth Five Year Plan of India (1992-97) recognized human development as the ultimate goal of the development process. Employment generation, population control, illiteracy, education, health, provision of drinking water, and adequate food are listed as priorities towards the achievement of this goal.

Many of the programmes and activities outlined in the Programme of Action adopted at the World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen in 1995 are already in place in India, particularly the policies geared towards eradication of poverty, generation of employment, etc. India has taken a range of measures to implement the Programme of Action at the National level. India has established a National Committee for Social Development in the Planning Commission, and the State Governments are also being encouraged to establish similar committees. While the primary responsibility for implementation of the Programme of Action rests with the States, the National effort will need to be strengthened and supplemented by the efforts of the international community. It is, therefore, necessary for the international community to dedicate itself to the task of fulfilling the commitments undertaken at Copenhagen.

The pro-poor components of the poverty plan are fully integrated with the overall development plan of the country and the pro-poor perspective is fully harmonized with the strategy of market-oriented open-economy industrialization and the requirements of structural adjustments. Economic growth enables expansion of productive employment and also generation of resources which are vital to support any form of intervention for eradication of poverty. Since 1991, India has undertaken trade reforms, financial sector reforms, and removal of controls and bottlenecks. These reforms were introduced with the objective of improving efficiency and productivity, in order to further accelerate growth by improving competitiveness in international markets. The ultimate objective of such reforms is to ensure expeditious eradication of poverty. Adequate precaution was taken to protect the poorer sections of society against short term effects of these changes. This has been done through increasing the resources for programmes for the poor in the National Plan and sharpening the focus of such programmes on the poor.

The Conference of Chief Ministers on Basic Minimum Services held at New Delhi during 4-5 July, 1996, recommended the adoption of the following objectives with an all out effort for their attainment by the year 2000: 100% provision of safe drinking water in rural and urban areas; 100% coverage of primary health service facilities in rural and urban area; universal primary education; provision of Public Housing Assistance to all shelterless poor families; extension of the Mid-day Meal Programme in primary schools to all rural blocks, and urban slums and disadvantaged sections; linkage provisions to all unconnected villages and habitations; and streamlining the Public Distribution System targeted to families below the poverty line.  

The Conference recommended that all centrally sponsored schemes relating to the above seven Basic Minimum Services should be continued and the States' annual entitlement should be increased by 15-20% every year. It also recommended that the funds allocated for these Basic Minimum Services in the States' and the Central Plan should not be diverted. The Budget for 1996-97 provides an additional Rs. 24.66 billion with a view to increase the availability of funds for State level social programmes for safe drinking water, primary education, primary health, housing, mid-day meals for primary school children, rural roads, and strengthening public distribution system.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The Government of India has adopted various schemes and programmes for accelerating the rate of economic growth, eradication of rural poverty through wage employment and self-employment, redistribution of land and security of land tenure, enhanced Minimum Needs Programme, protection of minorities, availability of opportunity for socioeconomic uplift, and infrastructure development to help the urban poor.

The Common Minimum Programme (CMP) announced by the Government in June, 1996 has shown strong commitment to the development of social sectors for achieving distributive justice. The Government has also accorded high priority to poverty alleviation programmes. The Central Plan allocations for social sectors and poverty alleviation programmes show the highest increase in 1996-97 over 1995-96. The weaker sections of society have been given importance in special programmes of poverty alleviation and employment as well as in several other programmes. The Public Distribution System has been recently streamlined in order to target the poorer sections of the population. The poverty alleviation programme is one of the main thrust areas of the Common Minimum Programme. A strategic attack on poverty is an important element of the development policy pursued by the Government. A two-pronged attack on rural and urban poverty has been launched through wage employment and credit linked self-employment schemes.

Some of the new initiatives in the area of poverty eradication and social sector include: a) National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) which covers National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS), and National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS); b) Nutritional Support Primary Education (NSPE), a mid-day meal scheme for school children in all Government, local body, and private aided schools (classes I to V); c) Indira Mahila Yojana with three components: convergence of inter-sectoral activities, income generating activities, and sustained process of awareness generation/education; d) Pension Scheme for Provident Fund Subscribers (PSPFS); e) Social Security for Construction Workers; f) Rural Group Life Insurance Scheme which incorporates a 50% subsidized policy available to one member of a rural poor family below the poverty line; f) Prime Minister's Integrated Urban Poverty Eradication Programme; g) Pulse Polio Immunization Programme; h) Revamped Rural Employment Programme encompassing the Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS), Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY), Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY), and the Million Wells Scheme (MWS); and i) Revamped Integrated Rural Development Programme.

Status   

The estimated proportion of population below the poverty line is sensitive to the estimation procedure used. However, according to a variety of estimates, the decline in the proportion of population below the poverty line was between 2.9 and 8.7% in the six year period ending 1993-94. The appropriate methodology for estimation of poverty is also currently under review by the Planning Commission.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

India believes that poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere and that concerted international action is essential to ensure global prosperity and better standards of life for all. Based on this belief, India has actively played a positive, constructive role in the deliberations of the UN, its specialized agencies, and various intergovernmental mechanisms. The Rio Declaration on environment and development adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 states, inter alia, that "eradicating poverty and reducing disparities in living standards in different parts of the world are essential to achieve sustainable development and meet the needs of the majority of people." Agenda 21, the blueprint for sustainable development, emphasizes that the actions of individual governments in combating poverty require the support of the international community as the struggle against poverty is a shared responsibility of all countries. A favourable international economic environment, combined with financial and technical assistance, favourable terms of trade, debt relief, access to markets, and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, will help pave the way for poverty eradication and sustainable development. Poverty has so many causes that no single solution will solve the problem in all countries.

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This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for information in the 1997 Economic Survey on Special Employment and Poverty Alleviation Programmes.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

In keeping with the move towards integration of social sector services in India, a coordination mechanism has been established at the Central level, and States have been advised to set up similar mechanisms for State/Union Territories, district, and block levels.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

Population stabilization is an essential prerequisite for sustainable development. In India, the National Family Planning Programme was launched in 1952 with the objective of "reducing birth rate to the extent necessary to stabilize the population at a level consistent with requirement of the National economy". The technological advances and improved quality and coverage of health care has resulted in a rapid fall of the mortality rate from 27 in 1951 to 9.8 in 1991. In contrast, the reduction in birth rate has been less steep, declining from 40 in 1951 to 29.5 in 1991. As a result, the annual exponential population growth has been over 2% in the last three decades. During the Eighth Five Year Plan period (1992-97), the fall in birth rate has been steeper than that of the death rate; consequently the annual growth rate was around 1.9% during 1991-95. The rate of decline in population growth is likely to be accelerated during the Ninth Five Year Plan period (1997-2002).

India participated in and is a party to the Programme of Action (POA) of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held at Cairo in 1994. In keeping with the global vision of population programmes contained in the Programme of Action, a paradigm shift has taken place in the National Family Welfare Programme. From April 1996, this Programme is being implemented on the basis of the "Target Free Approach (TFA)". This approach is based on replacement of the system of setting contraceptive targets from the top by a system of decentralized participatory planning at the Primary Health Centre (PHC) level.

In keeping with the policy shift in the population programme, the Ninth Plan will contain a large project, the "Reproductive and Child Health Project" (RCH), which contains two components. The first will be a National component to continue the Child Survival and Safe Motherhood (CSSM) project. The CSSM, which has been extended to cover all districts of the country, aims to provide universal immunization to children against six vaccine-preventable diseases, namely polio, pertussis, tuberculosis, measles, tetanus, and diphtheria, as well as immunization against tetanus for pregnant women. Other activities are control of diarrhoea--a major cause of infant and child mortality, anaemia in children and women, blindness in children, and acute respiratory infections in children. Under the safe-motherhood component, enhancement of the percentage of delivery by trained personnel, training of traditional birth attendants, provision of emergency obstetric care, etc. are being provided.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The number of government assisted NGOs participating in population programmes during 1995-96 was about 900. During the current year, 1996-97, about 650 NGOs have been given assistance up to January, 1997. This excludes private-sector-for-profit-providers (individual doctors and facilities), who also provide a wide range of reproductive and child health services.

Programmes and Projects   

Major public health interventions were undertaken in the years 1995 to 1997. In keeping with the goal of eradication of polio by the year 2000 AD, the first round of Pulse Polio Immunization (PPI) was completed for children in the 0-3 year age group in December, 1995 and January, 1996. On the first ( December 9, 1995) National Immunization Day, 87 million children were immunized and in the second (January 20 , 1996), 93 million children were immunized against polio. The exercise has been repeated on December 7, 1996 and the coverage in 490 of the 510 districts which have reported so far is 115 million children.

Similarly, a check-up for primary school children was carried out over the period July/October, 1996. Coverage of children enrolled in schools was about 85%. The objectives of this check-up was to detect common health problems among school children, refer those needing treatment, and build health awareness in the community.

Both these initiatives attracted tremendous community response. Based on the experience of the PPI, the Department of Family Welfare has plans to use the Pulse Polio Immunization Campaign (PPIC) posts on a regular basis for reproductive and child health care including immunization. The check-up of school children has since been mandated by law to become a regular annual feature, particularly for detection of incipient disabilities. The screening leads to referral and treatment as necessary.

Status   

Decentralized participatory planning stresses quality of care, and assessment and provision of services on the basis of client needs. Voluntary and informed choice, which has always been the underpinning of the population programme, is stressed. Service providers/ managers at the level of the Primary Health Centre are expected to draw up a health care and family welfare plan at their level after carrying out assessment of community needs and in consultation with the community and community leaders. An integrated system of monitoring has been devised and transmission of information will be done using the country-wide governmental information network known as the NIC-NET. While the reporting system is still to be put into place, it is expected that it will relieve service providers of excessive record keeping and free their valuable time for providing services to and making contact with the community. The mobility of service providers is being enhanced, to facilitate greater and more frequent contact with the community. As many as 132,285 sub-centres at the peripheral level have a female para-medical [known as the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM)], and the medical doctors at the Primary Health Centre (PHC) level include a fair number of women. The women's perspective is expected to be taken care of by this empowerment of service providers and managers.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Information Education and Communication (IEC) is carried out through a variety of modes of dissemination, including interpersonal communication, electronic and print media, animation groups and peer groups, population education through schools and colleges, adult literacy campaigns, youth clubs, etc. Required software for IEC is designed and supplied. Efforts are being made to build capacity at the State level to design and create software more appropriate to local needs. IEC has been diversified from being contraception oriented to encompassing issues like the status of women, child survival, age at marriage, etc. Correspondingly, messages pertaining to fertility are also being carried in the IEC projects of other Departments such as Education and Rural Development. Training of all service providers at the block level will be integrated from April 1, 1997 to facilitate appreciation of the interlinkages between various aspects of development like literacy, poverty alleviation, and environment with population.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

Extensive research has been undertaken in India on the reproductive health of the population. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS), conducted in 1992-1993, covered 89,777 married women in the 13-49 year age group in 88,562 households in 24 States and the Union Territory of Delhi. The Survey has yielded a vast amount of data, which is being used for policy and programme purposes.

Financing   

It is estimated that in the Ninth Plan period, external assistance for the population programme will be at a level of about Rs.30 billion. Agencies like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have and are continuing to provide valuable technical, monetary, and material assistance. Bilateral agencies are providing financial support for the population programme. The PPI initiative has attracted widespread international support.

Cooperation

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for information in the 1997 Economic Survey on Population and Family Welfare.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The strategy of Indian Health Planning is two pronged; first, to build up a primary health care infrastructure, and second, tackling specific diseases. The primary health care infrastructure, consisting of Sub-centres, Primary Health Centres (PHCs), and Community Health Centres, has been built around a population of 30,000 per unit. This mechanism provides for a sustained and continuous outreach for all health and family welfare programmes in the country. The disease specific strategy consists of programmes aimed at prevention and control of specific diseases. These programmes are targeted for specific regions depending upon circumstances/spread of the disease.

The focus of the Eighth Five Year Plan for the Health Sector has been to improve access to health care for the under-served and under privileged segments of the population. This is being achieved through: a) consolidation and implementation of the primary, secondary, and tertiary health care infrastructure for optimal performance, and building up appropriate referral services with emphasis on primary care; and b) effective implementation of National programmes for combating major public health problems.

Until poor sanitation, contaminated water supply, and lack of adequate facilities for solid and liquid waste management both in urban and rural areas are corrected, it may not be possible to completely prevent periodic outbreaks of infectious diseases. Nevertheless, if outbreaks are detected early enough, it will be possible to control the epidemic and reduce morbidity and fatality rates. The strategy during the Ninth Plan will be to strengthen health surveillance, and early alert and rapid response mechanisms at district and sub-district levels. This would necessitate the provision of epidemiological expertise and diagnostic laboratory services as an essential component of existing health care system.
It is neither possible nor feasible to initiate and support vertical programmes for control of every non-communicable disease. During the Ninth Plan period, integrated noncommunicable disease control programmes will be implemented using the experience gained from pilot projects, such as the diabetes control programme launched during the Eighth Plan.

Urban migration over the last decade has resulted in the rapid growth of urban slums. In some cities, the health status of urban slum dwellers is worse than that of the rural population. During the Ninth Plan period, steps will be initiated to develop a well structured organization of urban primary health care to ensure basic Health and Family Welfare dwellings. Appropriate referral linkages between primary, secondary, and tertiary care facilities in defined geographic areas will be established to promote optimal use of all available facilities. Increasing involvement of the Nagar Palikas in the implementation of health, water supply, and sanitation programmes is expected to improve the health status of the urban population, especially slum dwellers and those living below the poverty line.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

Some of the National Health Programmes are: National Malaria Eradication Programme; National Tuberculosis Control Programme; National AIDS Control Programme; and National Blindness Control Programme. The "Health for all" strategy is being re-oriented towards Health for the Under Privileged. In view of the importance given to medical and health care in the economic reforms, the Central Plan outlay for programmes of the Department of Health has been increased.

The National Health Programmes aimed at prevention, control and eradication of communicable and non-communicable diseases have been accepted by the Government for implementation. Efforts have been made to ensure that the ongoing reforms do not lead to any adverse effect on the provision of essential care to meet the health needs of disadvantaged segments of the population. Some of the measures include allocation of funds under the Social Safety Net Scheme to improve Maternal and Child Health (MCH) infrastructure beginning in a phased manner with 90 poorly performing districts.

Under the Basic Minimum Services scheme, the Government is committed to providing credible primary health care at the 5000 population level. In addition to the Centrally Sponsored Schemes, funds will be devolved to States for meeting requirements under the Basic Minimum Services, including health and family welfare.
The strengthening of rural health infrastructure has been undertaken over the years by the Department of Family Welfare through the provision of buildings, equipment, drugs, vaccines, and training at all personnel levels.

For AIDS, a National Control Programme has been established with blood safety measures and sexually transmitted disease (STD) control through the National AIDS Control Organization. During the last four years of implementation of the programme, 154 Zonal Blood Testing Centres have been established all over the country to provide HIV testing facilities. In total, 199 blood banks were modernized during 1995-96. One hundred and twenty eight medical officers, 747 blood bank technicians, and 37 drug inspectors have undergone training under the Programme. The "One World, One Hope" theme that was adopted for the World AIDS Day on December 1, 1996 reflects the coming together of various groups to prevent the spread of HIV.

Status   

Communicable diseases continue to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in India. In addition to the existing bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, there are newer additions such as HIV infection and re-emergence of some infections such as kala azar, so that the disease burden due to communicable diseases continues to be very high. There are National Programmes for control of vectors, but performance in many of these has been sub-optimal, an important factor being the lack of key personnel such as lab technicians and multipurpose workers. Many of these programmes were initiated at a time when primary health care infrastructure was not fully operational and, hence, had their own vertical infrastructure. In the Ninth Five Year Plan period, a major effort will be initiated for horizontal integration of these programmes at the district and sub-district levels within the existing framework of primary health care infrastructure.

Challenges  

Changing lifestyles, longevity, and dietary habits have resulted in increased prevalence and earlier age of onset for diabetes, and cerebro- and cardio-vascular diseases over the last decade and a concomitant rise in the disease burden and disability adjusted life years (DALY) due to non-communicable diseases. The overall cancer incidence in the country is low. Even though the two common cancers of the oropharynx and uterine cervix are easy to diagnose and treat, the available data indicate that the majority of cases are detected at a late stage when palliative rather than curative treatment remains the only possible therapeutic modality. Thus, there is a need to improve the facilities for early detection of cancers so that effective treatment could be provided.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

There are over 0.65 million Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) practitioners in the country. They work in remote rural as well as urban slum areas and could play an important role in enhancing health care outreach. There is a need to improve pre-service training and provide periodic updating after graduation so that there is improvement in the quality of service and greater participation in meeting the health care needs of the population. It is important to increase the efficiency of the health system through all categories of health manpower during the Ninth Plan period. The recommendations contained in the National Education Policy on Health Sciences, as approved by the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare in 1993, will be implemented to ensure growth and development of the appropriate mix of health care manpower. Optimal use of human resources for health will be made through: creation of a functional, reliable health management information system, and training and deployment of health managers with requisite professional competence; multi-professional education to promote team work; skills upgrading for all categories of health personnel as part of structured continuing education; increasing accountability of responsiveness to people's health needs by assigning an appropriate role to the Panchayati Raj institutions; and making use of available local and community resources.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

To augment the resources for health care, user charges have been introduced for medical/diagnostic services in certain hospitals in some of the States except for the poor. This will help to provide better quality services, besides facilitating public funding of basic health facilities. With rising incomes, the demand for health care is increasing.

Cooperation  

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.
Click here to go to WHO's Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi.
Click here for information in the 1997 Economic Survey on the following topics: Population and Family Welfare; Medical and Health Care; Development of Women and Children; Welfare of Weaker Sections; Housing Water Supply and Sanitation; and Special Employment and Poverty Alleviation Programmes.
Click here for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The goal of universal elementary education is enshrined in the Constitution of India. It will be India's goal to ensure that all school-going children in the 6-14 year age group are enrolled by the year 2000. India's system of elementary education is the second largest in the world with 151 million children enrolled in the 6-14 year age group in 1994-95. This covered about 91% of the children in this age group. The important requirement of supportive infrastructure is included under the "Operation Blackboard" scheme started in 1987-88.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The National Policy of Education (NPE), 1986 aims at illiteracy eradication in the 15-35 age group by the year 2000. Eradication of illiteracy (EOI), has been accorded a high priority in the Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-97) and is a major priority area. It is also one of the components of the Minimum Needs Programme (MNP). The National Literacy Mission (NLM) was launched in May, 1988 for achieving universal literacy in the 15-35 age group. The target is to cover 100 million adult illiterate persons during the Eighth Plan period. The emphasis is on sustainability of literacy skills and the achievement of goals of remediation, continuation, and application of skills to actual living conditions. This programme also concentrates on education for weaker sections of society like the members of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and women. The NLM will achieve the coverage of 100 million adults by the year 1998-99 with special emphasis on the spread of literacy among women and in the States with high incidence of illiteracy.  

The Total Literacy Campaign has become the principal strategy of the NLM in the eradication of illiteracy throughout the country. The target for achieving total literacy is now 2005 AD. As on December 1996, about 417 districts have been covered either fully or partially under this Campaign. Similarly, 178 districts have been covered either fully or partially under the Post Literacy Campaign. Under all the schemes of NLM, 57.96 million persons, out of an enrolment of 96.80 million, have so far been made literate according to NLM norms. The new scheme of Continuing Education for neo-literates is now under implementation (approved in December 1995).

In the Ninth Five Year Plan, making the nation fully literate by the year 2005 will be a committed goal. This carries out the directions of the 1992 update of the NPE. Around 6% of the GDP will be earmarked for the education sector by the year 2000 and 50% of that will be spent on primary education. Further, substantial funds will be earmarked for technical and vocational training, in order to generate more employable and self-employed youths.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The main problem faced in the implementation of the programme of elementary education is the high drop-out rates. Efforts have been made to counter this by providing free elementary education, with a scheme of free textbooks and uniforms. A scheme for mid-day meals (Nutritional Support to Primary Education) has been recently launched. The scheme will be implemented in all the States to ensure regular attendance and retention in primary and middle schools. In every initiative to promote the spread of education, the girl child will be a special focus of attention. The District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) which became operational in 1994-95, attempts to take a holistic view of primary education development and seeks to implement the strategy of universality of elementary education, through district planning and desegregated target setting.

Status   

Human resource development, one of the most important needs of India, is receiving the desired attention. The important components of human resource development include education, training, awareness raising, dissemination of information, and decision making.  

Education is viewed as a fundamental human right.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Environmental education forms an essential ingredient in the education process of the country. The National Policy on Education provides for including environment, among other factors, as an integral part of the curricula at all stages of education. The National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT), New Delhi has developed syllabi and curricula on environmental education both for Primary and Secondary School levels.  

A comprehensive document "Environmental Education in the School Curriculum" has been published which lists the approach and concepts covered in different subjects at different stages of 12-year schooling. During 1996-97, a National Resource Centre in Environmental Education was also been established to promote better awareness, understanding, and sharing of experiences and materials in environmental education. An effort is being made to develop a data bank of various institutions, activities, and materials in environmental education to facilitate better interaction and dissemination among the different agencies and the school system.  

This country-wide coverage of science exhibitions being organized at the District, State, and National levels has helped in spreading environmental awareness and motivating children to think about the control measures for environmental protection. The NCERT has also developed audio-video programmes on various related themes of environmental education and sustainable development for school children and teachers.  

Region-specific training modules for District Institutes of Educational Training rich in environmental concepts have been developed. Environmental education is made an essential component of training programmes for teachers and teacher educators/trainers. The State Boards of Education have started follow up action for development of curricula with environment education as an important element. NGOs are also being encouraged by financial assistance from the government to produce experimental and innovative work in the field of environment education.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

The share of both Central and State Governments, including local bodies, in financing educational institutions continues to be quite high. It accounted for 92.9% of the total income of educational institutions in 1990-91, whereas the share from fees, endowments, and other sources declined sharply. While the Central Government plays an important role for overall policy directions in education and funding of centrally sponsored schemes, the State Governments provide most of the funding for the education system. Private initiatives in education may be encouraged to supplement public resources. Further, resources must be mobilized by revising fees and other user charges especially for higher levels of education.

Cooperation  

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For the Department of Education, click here.
Click here for information in the 1997 Economic Survey on Literacy and Education.

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Land remains the most critical constraint in the development of the housing sector, particularly in the larger cities. Legislative provisions like the urban land ceiling, rental laws, and planning codes are among the major constraints and conservative land use norms have restricted the supply of land into the market. Apart from these constraints, there are substantial vacant land holdings in the possession of government departments, educational institutions, religious and charitable trusts, and corporations. Bringing these holdings into the land market would help augment land supply.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

As one of the original signatories to the Vancouver Action Plan, 1976, India has introduced approaches in its human settlements programmes that seek to effectively provide access for people, especially vulnerable groups, to adequate and affordable shelter in human settlements that encompass the shelter unit and basic physical, economic, and social services, including access to livelihood programmes. India initiated the process through formulation of the National Housing Policy (NHP) with the long term goals to reduce the number of homeless, to improve the housing conditions of the inadequately housed, and to provide a minimum level of basic services and amenities to all. The foundation that has been strongly established over the last 20 years, enables the activities to gather momentum and take the directions that are considered necessary to implement the Habitat II (Istanbul, 1996) National Plan for Action (NPA).

Major priority issues are identified in the NPA. The objective is to create the enabling environment in which participants outside the government system can become more active in the delivery of housing solutions and provision of services, so that the outreach is extended to all segments of the market, especially vulnerable groups. The NPA, a consensus effort of all the key actors, has two critical objectives, namely, giving people access to adequate and affordable shelter and social infrastructure and services, and developing sustainable urban and rural settlements in an urbanizing world.

The NPA specifically encompasses the following major activities: creation of an enabling environment; development of all types of housing and related services; eradication of poverty and strengthening the activities in the informal sector; providing access for women, children, and other vulnerable groups to housing and basic services; monitoring and evaluation systems; and State shelter policies and action plans. All the key actors are committed to the implementation of the NPA and the Global Plan of Action, to which the NPA is closely linked. The Government of India reaffirms its commitment to realize the rights set out in relevant international instruments and documents relating to education, food, shelter, employment, health, and information, particularly in order to assist people living in poverty. The strategy of the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002) is to provide housing for all by the terminal year of the Plan.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

In spite of rapid and widespread urbanization, India still has a large rural population, 629 million, living in 580,706 villages. The average population of an Indian town is 60,297 and that of an Indian village 1,083. The attractiveness of rural development programmes has been a contributory factor for villages with over 10,000 population preferring to remain in the rural category. These include, in particular, the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Rural Labour and Employment Generation Programme (RLEGP), Jawahar Rozgar Yojna (JRY), and Indira Awaas Yojna (IAY), which have improved housing conditions, income opportunities, and accelerated economic growth. Rural areas have contributed to the sustainability of urbanization by providing inputs for urban industry, trade and services, a large market for urban products, a source of competitively priced labour, and household savings to the financial system. The strengthening of the rural-urban continuum is high on the habitat agenda for India.

Status   

The current state of human settlements in India presents a mixed scenario. There have been significant improvements in the coverage of the population's basic human settlement amenities and in the quality of the habitats. There has been a visible improvement in housing structure and quality and more market-sourced materials are being used in both urban and rural areas. Higher levels of affordability have been achieved. At the same time, housing costs are rising, floor area per capita is falling, and a growing number of people are being pushed out of the formal housing market. The impact of the situation is reflected in the proliferation of urban slums.

Urban India has 25.7% of the National population, equivalent to 217.6 million people, one of the largest urban systems in the world. During the last four decades, the annual incremental population has averaged 5-6 million, about three-quarters of which is through natural population growth; and two-fifth through out-migration from rural areas, and administrative changes in classification of urban and rural areas. Urban processes have been varied. The conventional route of large industry, trade, and seat of governance are still important, but other routes, typical of processes in developing countries, are evident all over the country. Urbanization through development of "mandi" (village marketing outlet) towns, small towns, social and cultural activities, including educational and medical centres of excellence, religious, cultural and historical centres, tourism, and induced growth of new economic activity centres have been some other urban processes that have successfully developed sustainable urban settlements. Urban India has four mega cities (population over 5 million), 19 metro cities (1 million plus), 3,000 large towns (0.1 million plus), and 3,396 small and medium towns (less than 0.1 million). By the turn of the century, India will have some 40 metro cities.

Urbanization has had a distinct impact on human settlements and people's lifestyle. Construction technology and land constraints have changed the housing typology in urban areas from single-unit, plotted development to vertical structures and multi-household complexes. This changing pattern is seen in mega and metro cities as well as in large towns, but is not so evident in small towns and rural areas. There is, however, clear improvement in services and dwelling unit durability in these places.

The major concerns of city managers include the widening gap between the needs and supply of urban services, which has had a deteriorating impact on the urban environment leading to the inadequacy of urban planning, urban poverty, and degradation. The parallel development of formal and informal housing has produced the multiple-city syndrome in urban India: a city of the poor and a city of the rich, with distinct variations in levels of amenities, types of structures, level of income, and quality of life.

Housing has been a citizen-driven activity, with private sector investment contributing 70-80% of total investment in housing during the first 20 years of planning and even higher, around 90% subsequently. Public housing activity has been largely directed towards the poorer segments of the housing market and a wide range of options have been provided, including site and services, core housing, and completed units. The Indian housing stock comprised 148 million units in 1991; including 39.3 million units in urban areas and 108.8 million in rural areas. The value of this housing stock is estimated at Rs. 3,258 billion. The major actors in the housing delivery system are state parastatals, cooperative housing societies, the private sector builders, and the people themselves.

While the proportion of people below the poverty line has declined in terms of numbers, poverty remains a major concern in urban and rural areas. There are also significant disparities in income distribution. Supporting informal economic activities and improving access of the poor to development opportunities is a major issue for the National habitat agenda. A closely-related concern is the special needs of children in settlement planning, including access to basic services. This applies particularly to children belonging to the most vulnerable groups identified in several recent National and international documents.

Urbanization has improved the status of women in Indian society because of accessibility to education, health services, information, and better employment opportunities. Access deficiencies to basic services necessary for congenial habitats particularly for women in low income settlements is a major concern. Equally important is the need to bring gender-sensitivity into human settlements planning and development.

Challenges  

While housing shortage is modest at around 5 million units in terms of new construction, the problem is serious in terms of upgrading and renewal of existing housing stock. Development of housing infrastructure and services has not kept pace with the growth of housing. The problem of upgrading and renewal of basic services like potable water and sanitation is serious. A similar situation of inadequacy is seen for social services, particularly for the poorer segments, slum settlements, women, children, and other vulnerable groups. The National Plan of Action places special attention on meeting the backlog in housing and infrastructure assets, including upgrading activities.

Financial intervention in housing has been developed, especially to promote home ownership, but the reach to the lower segments of the market has not been adequate. Credit instruments for rental and upgrading programmes have to be developed. The financial intervention for infrastructure development is also not adequate. Reducing transaction costs and risks, as well as accessing low-cost funds in the country and abroad, are major concerns. Initiatives along these directions will be taken during the next two decades, including appropriate fiscal and legislative measures to improve the financial environment and bring new credit instruments for specific activities and groups.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

The Habitat II goal of adequate shelter for all in sustainable human settlements is an international responsibility. A healthy, safe, more equitable, and sustainable human settlement would contribute directly to achieving world peace, harmony, justice, and stability. An innovative framework for international cooperation must be developed to ensure timely, appropriate, and responsive technical and financial cooperation to meet the needs and priorities of the developing countries without any conditions. The international community should establish links with the informal sector and credit mechanisms so that this growing segment of the economy, a major component in the countries of the South, gets access to the global pool of resources. In this approach, the participatory efforts of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), and the community must be developed.

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This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for information in the 1997 Economic Survey on the following topics: Literacy and Education; Population and Family Welfare; Medical and Health Care; Development of Women and Children; Welfare of Weaker Sections; Housing Water Supply and Sanitation; and Special Employment and Poverty Alleviation Programmes.
Click here to access "BEST PRACTICES FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS"
For information related to human settlements and refugees, you may access the UNHCR Country Index by clicking here:


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