Page 3 of 12

Almost half of India is still illiterate. More than half of the female population in the country have never gone to school. The infant mortality rate in India is about 80 per 1000 births, which is not significantly lower than the average infant mortality rate in sub-Saharan Africa, one of the least developed parts of the world. This is indeed a dismal picture after 50 years of Independence from British Colonial rule. While the country's policy makers talk incessantly about India accelerating its rate of growth of Gross Domestic Product, the comfortable Balance of Payments position and rising Foreign Investment, eminent economist Amartya Sen has never minced his words in pointing out the country's failures to alleviate poverty and reduce disease and ignorance. Even as the Indian Government seeks to devise ways of pruning the Public Sector and the State, Prof. Sen argues in favour of the need for effective Government intervention in sectors such as health and education.