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Economic Survey 2004-2005


GENERAL REVIEW

Review of Developments

d) Employment and poverty

1.52 The Planning Commission estimates the incidence of poverty and unemployment on the basis of large-scale quinquennial sample surveys on household consumer expenditure, labour force and employment conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO). With the last such survey conducted only in the 55th Round during 1999-2000, no official estimates of poverty and unemployment exist beyond 1999-2000. These last official estimates were reported in last year's Economic Survey. Although subsequent mini-annual rounds of survey suggest that poverty has come down and employment has increased, these are subject to large sampling and non-sampling errors.

1.53 The Human Development Index (HDI) encompasses the three important dimensions of income, education and health. Although there is no one-to-one inverse correspon-dence between the HDI and poverty, yet the HDI reported in the latest Human Development Report 2004 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provides some supporting evidence about a possible decline in poverty between 1995 and 2002. The HDI for India improved from 0.548 in 1995 to 0.579 in 2000 and further to 0.595 in 2002.

1.54 The National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the Government attaches high priority to the development of social sectors to enable people to participate in and benefit fully from the development process. Major programmes initiated in this regard in 2004-05 include launching of the National Food for Work Programme in 150 most backward districts; introduction of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill, 2004 in Parliament on December 21, 2004 to provide for enhancement of livelihood security of the poor in rural areas; provision of additional Rs.12,000 crore of Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) for Plan programmes like Food for Work, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, mid-day cooked-meal scheme, basic healthcare, Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, drinking water, and roads; increase in coverage of Antyodaya Anna Yojana from 1.5 crore to 2 crore families; improving facilities for universal education by imposition of a cess of 2 per cent on Union taxes and duties; upgrading Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) over the next 5 years; and introduction of a new Universal Health Insurance Scheme for the poor and a special group insurance scheme.

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