Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Social Sector Development in South West Bengal

Majumder, Rajarshi and Ray, Jhilam and Sen, Anindita (2013): Social Sector Development in South West Bengal.

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Development economics in recent years have become more people centric than before. It has rediscovered that human beings are both the means and the end of economic development process, and without Human Development that process becomes a hollow rhetoric. The maze of technical concepts and growth centric approach to development ruled the roost for the most of post war period and only from the eighties onwards did the intelligentsia started to recognize that human needs and capabilities are necessary ingredients for success of any growth strategy. The pioneering work of Mahbub ul Haq and Paul Streeten under the aegis of UNDP finally institutionalised the importance of human development and the Human Development Reports brought out annually by UNDP reflects the condition of human being in different parts of the world. It has come to be recognised that improvements of human beings – their capabilities, skills and opportunities – are important targets by themselves. Moreover, this has substantial ‘spill over’ effects as greater capabilities lead to higher productivity levels, increased income levels, and wider scope for further human capital formation. Thus uplifting of a single generation of citizen propels all future generations on to a higher growth trajectory. The ‘trickle down’ effects also are significant as better living standards lead to greater care for the environment & resources, a healthy & democratic civic society, and a lower discrimination based on gender, race and caste. These roles of social sector development have catapulted it to centre-stage of research and discussion in recent years. Considering the above discussion as the conceptual and methodological framework, this report explores the trends in educational and health infrastructure availability in the region; trends in educational attainments and health standards of the people; trends in people’s access to social infrastructure and their affordability – especially among marginalised and excluded social groups.

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