GS Paper 3
Source: The Indian Express
Context: With the latest edition of the Vande Bharat train, India made a huge leap into the future of mass transportation. However, it has also raised questions, as the poor may not be able to afford these trains.
Examples of skewed priorities of new India:
- Medical facilities: While Indian hospitals attract people from other countries, most of its primary care clinics don’t have enough doctors.
- Education: India has the world’s most prestigious engineering institutions, but still half of its children are unable to read and write at the minimum level expected for their age.
- Food security: While India has food stored in granaries, tens of millions of its children go hungry and are stunted.
- Road safety: Though all Indian cars must have seatbelts, the most basic rules of road safety such as breaking a red light are not enforced.
- Sports: While India has the richest sports leagues in the world, it performs dismally at most global sporting competitions.
- Infrastructure: India builds ultra-modern infrastructure on the banks of the holiest rivers, while these rivers are slowly dying from the most toxic pollution on the planet.
Reasons behind these mismatches: Tension between two competing ideas – achieving Modernisation vs universal access to basic things.
Way ahead – Realising the journey to development:
- Like western countries, first invest in high-quality primary health care and primary education, and basic infrastructure (like sanitation, and public transportation).
- Thus, focusing on simple and fundamental things that India overlooks.
Q. “Investment in infrastructure is essential for more rapid and inclusive economic growth.” Discuss in light of India’s experience. (UPSC Mains 2021)