India spends lowest on health, education among BRIC nations: Study

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New Delhi, June 22 (UNI) Despite the fact that India stands out as preferred investment destination, a study today pointed out that the country's public expenditure on social sector as a per cent of GDP is lowest as compared to Brazil, Russia and China.

Inspite of the sustained rise in budgets over the years, India's public spending on health as a per cent of GDP is second lowest among the BRIC countries and lowest in terms of education, according to Assocham Eco Pulse (AEP) Study on Public health and education expenditures among the BRIC countries.

It revealed that the country's public expenditure on the two most significant social sectors, health and education stood at five per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively as a per cent of GDP in FY06.

During 2005-06, Brazil and Russia had spent 7.9 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively on health as a per cent of GDP.

India was a notch above China with public expenditure on health at five per cent of GDP in FY06, while China spent merely 4.7 per cent.

Assocham President Sajjan Jindal said, ''India needs to keep its pace with other developing countries in its social sector development, to meet the twin objectives of rapid progress and inclusive growth. We need to invest in more quality education and health services.'' The compression of the public spending by the Indian government on health is also reflected in terms of high infant mortality rate as a consequent of rising population and poverty of the country.

In FY07, India's mortality rate under-five (per 1,000) stood at 76, the highest among the BRIC countries.

In contrast, Russia was ranked lowest, with its infant mortality rate at 16 per 1,000 deaths in during 2006-07. China and Brazil ranked second and third with mortality rates 24 and 20 per thousand deaths respectively.

In terms of government education expenditure (per student primary) as a per cent of GDP per capita, India is at the lowest among the BRIC economies with 9.2 per cent of GDP for the year 2004-05, while Russia, Brazil and China spent 12.9 per cent, 12.8 per cent and 10.2 per cent.

In India, the literacy rate of 67 per cent is least among BRIC countries. In FY05, Russia with highest public expenditure on education among the BRIC nations, has almost achieved complete literacy with 99.4 per cent rate.

China, whose education spending stood at 10.2 per cent of its GDP, has 90.92 per cent literacy rate. Though the public expenditure in Brazil is comparatively high, the country lags behind China with literacy rate at 88.6 per cent in FY05.

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