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Seminar on ‘Human Development in Punjab: An Empirical Exploration’

A Seminar on ‘Human Development in Punjab: An Empirical Exploration’ was held at the Joan Robinson hall on 4 January, 2019. The seminar was presented by Kamlesh Goyal, a K. N. Raj Fellow at CDS, (2018-19) and a Research Scholar (Ph.D.), Department of Economics, Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab.

Abstract: Punjab is an agriculture based economy and facing many socio-economic problems. Punjab slipped down in terms of per capita income ranking across major Indian states from the first rank in 1991-92 to sixth rank in 2009-10 and 15th in 2017-18. Indeed, ever rising water, air and soil pollution, state is witnessing a huge and increasing burden of the communicable and non-communicable diseases mainly cancer and many other, particularly, the age group 35 to 65 years is becoming the prey to these diseases which has resulted in the loss in the productive years as this part of life has potential to work. In term of education, state has 16th position in literacy rate (2011) among Indian states. Moreover, the gap between rural urban literacy rate and dropout rate among students is widening. To assess and address all these socio-economic transformations, this study has been conducted which is based on both primary as well as secondary data. Through secondary data, this study shows the status of human development of Punjab (in comparisons of all Indian states and UTs) and its districts since 1991 and found that Punjab’s HDI has increased from 1991 to 2001, but after that there is tremendous decline in the overall HDI of the state. Furthermore, district wise results reveal that, in 2016-17, out of total 22 districts of Punjab, 18 districts were in medium and from the remaining 4 districts, 3 were in low and only 1 district in high HDI category. To study these transformations at micro level two districts one district with highest HDI and another with lowest HDI (based on Punjab HDI, 2011) have been chosen and 320 households have been interviewed across rural-urban and all social groups systematically. It is found from the survey that income consumption ratio is on critical level, adult literacy is quite high but dropout rate is also high, and 125 persons out of total 1502 persons (accounting 8.3 per cent) were found with 13 major diseases.  Moreover, there is huge socio-economic gap among all social groups as well as rural urban areas, and the conditions of the SCs have worsened in comparison of those belonging to the General category and OBCs, particularly from Mansa district.