The social sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in India. Social sector expenditure increased to 8.8 percent as a proportion of GDP in FY 2020-21. This increase was seen across all sectors such as education, health, nutrition, and skill development, among others. The growth of the social sector underlines the massive potential for investments inn key areas, which can quicken economic development and social equilibrium.
However, despite the high spend in the social sector, India’s HDI ranking in 2019 was 131 compared to 129 in 2018 out of a total 189 countries— a drop of two places. This underscores the need for greater investments in the social sector for India to reap the dividends of its demographic advantage.
Despite the size of the sector and its significant impact on the Indian economy, the entire sector remains highly unstructured and unorganized, which is alarming. Even though it plays a critical role in delivering services and remedies to some of the most vulnerable sections of people in India, the social sector is marked by the lack of professionals, skilled, qualified and/or trained experts, workers, and volunteers.
India’s progress towards becoming a $ 5 trillion economy bears a direct corelation to exponential increase in social equity that will ensure greater demand and consumption—the two most critical engines of economic progress.
The second phase would entail setting up Centres of Excellence (CoE) at prominent locations to promote specialised training in social sector management.
The Government of India’s poverty reduction agenda will not be effective unless sufficient emphasis is placed on addressing the needs for ‘inclusion in education’ and skill development for disabled people. It will be the first step towards greater acceptance of diversity and for creating more tolerant, equitable and cohesive societies.