Life free from illness and ailment and living a reasonably long life
span are indicative of a healthy life. Availability of pre and post natal health
care facilities in order to reduce infant mortality and post delivery deaths
among mothers, old age health care, adequate nutrition and safety of
individual are important measures of a healthy and reasonably long life.
India has done reasonably well in some of the health indicators like decline
in death rate from 25.1 per thousand in 1951 to 8.1 per thousand in 1999
and infant mortality from 148 per thousand to 70 during the same period.
Similarly, it also succeeded in increasing life expectancy at birth from 37.1
years to 62.3 years for males and 36.2 to 65.3 years for females from 1951
to 1999. Though, these are great achievements, a lot needs to be done.
It has also done reasonably well in bringing down birth rate from 40.8
to 26.1 during the same years, but it still is much higher than many
developed countries The situation is more alarming when seen in the
context of gender specific and rural and urban health indicators. India has
recorded declining female sex ratio. The findings of 2001 Census of India
are very disturbing particularly in case of child sex ratio between 0-6 age
groups. The other significant features of the report are, with the exception
of Kerala, the child sex ratio has declined in all the states and it is the most
alarming in the developed state of Haryana and Punjab where it is below
800 female children per thousand male children. What factors are
responsible for it? Is it the social attitude or scientific methods of sexdetermination?
Freedom from hunger, poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and any
other forms of domination is the key to human development. You have
already studied the concepts, indicators and approaches to human
development and methods of calculating the index in your book,
“Fundamentals of Human Geography.” In this chapter, let us try to
understand the applicability of these concepts.
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