51% of the MSMEs are in rural India and they engage 49.8 million workers. Supplying adequate, affordable and reliable uninterrupted electricity will help increase the efficiency of this crucial micro-enterprise sector.
Indian women are overcoming barriers to chart out glorious journeys to success. They are also the major driving force behind agriculture. However, in any discourse of women, rural women, especially agricultural labourers — the group that is the most significant contributor to the country’s progress — is left out.
Implementing the Central government’s proposal to privatise district hospitals could be disastrous for India’s poor. The government should learn from successful initiatives in some of the most conflict-affected districts that have strengthened their district hospitals.
The Aadhaar card is indispensable to claim benefits from government welfare schemes. But, due to incorrect linking of the cards to bank accounts, Aadhaar card holders in rural areas, especially vulnerable women, are running from pillar to post, often for months on end, to rectify the mistakes.
Rising obesity among rural inhabitants is playing out alongside the alarming story of under-nutrition in the country. The National Family Health Survey-5 figures released in December 2020 show a big spike in obesity in the villages of India.
87% of government schools in India are in rural areas. It is time authorities and educators take a deep look at what ails them, and take steps to make education in village schools relevant, contextual and meaningful.
Close to 85 million people in India stare at poverty. But, social safety schemes haven’t received their due. The current MGNREGA allocation of Rs 73,000 crores is nearly 34% less than the actual expenditure in fiscal 2020-21. The budget for the food subsidy bill is Rs 243,000 crores, much less than what was spent in fiscal 2020-21.
Never has the need been more urgent to focus on climate change in the land, and a lot hinges on Budget 2021 to boost, consolidate and ensure better use of the funds set aside for it.
It is not that the NFHS-5 is all doom and gloom. But the nutrition and anaemia indicators are a wake-up call. Anaemia has worsened in several states since 2015-2016. Worryingly, this slide-back happened before the onset of the pandemic, which suggests the current situation is probably worse.
This is why governments are now trying to work on One Health – a concept that links ecosystem protection, good animal husbandry practices and public health to create an approach towards healthy Nature and wildlife.