Montek seeks larger NRI investments in health and education

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New Delhi, Jan 8 (UNI) Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Sigh Ahluwalia today alluded to the success of the reform process in India and sought larger private sector investment, including NRI funds, in social services.

Participating in a session at the two-day Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, Dr Ahluwalia told a large gathering of the NRIs that investment in health apart from rendering service to the humanity was also profitable.

He sought similar participation in the area of education, especially primary education and health care, which he said left much to be desired.

Dr Ahluwalia said the reform process had taken deep roots and the country was bearing the fruits of the actions taken since the policy of liberalization was launched in 1991.

The economy will clock a growth rate of nearly nine per cent this fiscal and the 11th Plan target has been set at nine pc plus annual growth.

He said that a broad political consensus had emerged on the direction the country should move, especially on the content of reporms.

Nevertheless, he added, the country did not fare too favourably on social indicators and the government will expand its role in that sector, and withdraw from some others.

He said the perception that the government was withdrawing from areas like health and education was incorrect as the fact was that the its role in the coming year would be enhanced.

Dr Ahluwalia was of the view that India was worse off than many of its southeast Asian neighbours. For instance the literacy rate in the country was 65 per cent while the average of southeast Asian nations was 80 per cent.

He referred to the fact that while there had been a decline in communicable diseases, there was a marked increase in life style diseases such as diabetese and heart attack etc.

Chairing the session, Member Knowledge Commission Prof Deepak Nayyer said high growth would cease to have any meaning if it was not inclusive, which should entail lrger investment in social services.

He said the key to success in the health sector lay in improved delivery, greater access and better quality.

UNI NAZ/GS SK DS1530

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