Untouchability in India- Harmful Effects and Measures of Eradication

We know that the Hindu society is divided into many castes. Some people who belong to the Sudra caste are considered as untouchables. The upper classes remain aloof from them. Most of them are poor and lead a very miserable life. They are badly treated by people belonging to higher castes.

The untouchables suffer great discrimination.

1. They are prohibited from using public wells and tanks.
2. They are not permitted to enter Hindu temples.
3. They cannot attend public schools.
4. They have to live in separate colonies apart from the rest of—the people.
5. They are compelled to earn their livelihood from degrading professions like scavenging and killing of animals.

The high castes think that they would ‘be polluted if they had any social contacts with the untouchables.

Harmful Effects of Untouchability

Untouchability is a great curse. It has many evil effects on the Indian society. In the first place, it has made the lives of untouchables pitiable. They cannot make progress in any sphere of life. Secondly, untouchability has created bitterness between the Harijans or untouchables and the upper classes of the Hindus. The Harijans think that the upper class Hindus are the cause of their disgrace and misery. Thirdly, the British Government took the advantage of the’enmity between the two. It tried to use the grievances of the Scheduled Classes to divide the Indian people. They checked the growth of national feelings among them.

Measures to Eradicate Untouchability

The great social reformers and the Constitution of India took many significant measures to remove the curse of untouchability in our country.

Work of Social Reformers. Since early times, the social reformers -like Chaitanya, Kabir and Guru Nanak preached against the practice of untouchability In the modem age, great reformers like Raja Ram fo. , Mohan Roy and Swami Dayanand strove hard to end this social evil root and branch.

Role of Gandhiji. Gandhiji was severely opposed to untouchability. He considered it unjust and immoral. He began a powerful movement against this evil. In his Ashrams at Sabarmati at Ahmedabad and in Delhi, there was no discrimination of any kind. They were open to all the sections of society. Sometimes Gandhiji himself stayed in the Harijan colonies To promote the welfare of the Harijans, he founded an All India Harijan Sangh and also started a journal “Harijan”. As a result of his efforts, the Harijans beãn to play an active role in the national movement. They joined the people of other castes in the demonstrations and Satyagrahas against the British Government. The Congress made the uplift of the Harijans a part of its programme.

Laws against untouchability. The Constitution of our country empowers the government to make laws for completely abolishing untouchability It grants right to equality to all the citizens of the country. The Government has made laws to abolish untouchability in any form. By an Act of 1955, untouchability has been declared a criminal offence. It is punishable with a sentence of one year and a fine of one thousand rupees. The Government has appointed a special officer known as the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to eradicate the evil of untouchability. The Harijans can now use the public, places such as wells, ghats, tanks, temples, hotels and cinemas without any let or hindrance. The Government is making special efforts to remove poverty, illiteracy and a sense of inferiority from among them. Seats have been reserved for them in the government services, Panchayats, Municipal Committees, State Assemblies and in the Parliament. They are given special concessions and facilities for education in schools and colleges. They are given stipends. They are given books free of cost. Every state has established a Harijan Welfare Pepartment to safeguard the interests of the Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes.

Impact of Modem Way of Life on Untouchability

The modern civilization has also contributed much to the eradication of untouchability. The growth of modern industries, railways, buses and other means of transport have brought people belonging to different castes nearer to one another. The growth of cities and towns has also made the people of all castes to live together and develop closer social contacts. The development of trade and commerce and large scale industries have offered opportunities of economic progress to people of all classes. In the past, there was close connection between the caste and occupation. But the situation has changed. In the modern industrial age the making of profits is the main motive without any caste considerations.

What more can we do to remove Untouchabillty?

The evil of untouchability has not been completely removed in spite of the best efforts of the Government and the society Much more has to be done to end this evil.
1. More steps should be taken to improve the economic condition of the untouchables.
2. They should be granted loans on low rates to start cottage ançl small scale industries.
3. The people should be made to realise the evils of untouchability through mass media such as journals, television programmes, cinema, theatre, speeches etc.
4. The Government should establish new colonies in which people belonging to all classes live together and mix with one another freely.
5. National Social Service and Scouting camps should be frequently organised. In these camps, the children belonging to all classes get a chance to live and dine together. This will help in removing the
caste differences.
6. People should be encouraged to make inter-caste marriages.
7. Untouchability is mostly commori in the villages. Such vifiages which succeed in eradicating this evil completely should be duly rewarded.
8. The birth days of great saints like Valmik and Guru Ravi Das should be celebrated with great enthusiasm by all the classes of the society
9. The people should celebrate Harijan Day or Harijan Week every year. It shall give chance to all the classes to mix, sit and dine together.
Many states of India celebrate Harijan Day or Harijan Week every year. It helps in moulding public opinion against untouchability. Special programmes are held for cleaning Harijan colonies and common langars or inter-dining is arranged. The Harijans offer water and food to the people of other castes. The Harijans are also welcomed to visit temples.

Caste System in India- Advantages and Disadvantages

Caste or Varna is a social class in a society: It divides people into groups on the basis of their birth, family, rank, wealth, social matters etc. According to Dr. Sham Shastri, “Organisation of some people into a a group for the purpose of several social matters like marriage and diet is called a caste.”

Origin

In the ancient days, the Hindu society was divided into four Varnas or castes namely, the Brahmans, Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas and the Sudras. These castes were formed on the basis of occupations which the people followed and not on the basis of birth. Those who studied the Vedas and took charge of the religious ceremonies were called the Brahmans. Those who were warriors and protected the people were called the Kshatriyas. Those whose occupation was trade and commerce were know as the
Vaishyas. The cultivators, artisans and craftsmen were known as the Sudras. Outside the above four castes, were the untouchables. Any person could change his occupation and enter another caste.

Growth

Gradually, the Hindu caste system became complex and rigid. The Hindu society was divided into many castes and sub-castes. Each caste developed PC its own customs and ceremonies. The members of a caste could marry only among themselves. Some castes were considered as high and others as low. Gradually, the castes became hereditary. Change from one caste to another became difficult. The caste was closely allied with religion. The caste system believes in the theory of Karma. It means that a person is born in a caste due to his actions in his previous birth. One can improve his caste status in his next life (Janama), if he strictly obeys the caste rules in his present life.

Advantages of Caste System

The caste system had a number of advantages.

1.The caste system was based on the principle of division of labour. It promoted efficiency in professions and functions. The son knew from the early childhood that he was to take up the occupation of his father. The system preserved skilled labour because the vocational skill was passed on from one generation to the next. It led to specialization and added to economic prosperity of the society.
2. The caste system solved the problem of unemployment. It solved the problem of livelihood in a satisfactory way.
3. The division of society into castes contributed to the preservation of the purity of blood as inter- caste marriiges were lrbidden.
4. It enabled Hinduism to preserve its vital elements, its spirit and its ideals for thousands of years.

Harmful Effects of Casteism on Society 

It cannot be denied that many evils resulted from the caste system. It struck at the very roots of human dignity. It caused havoc in every sphere of Indian life.

Firstly, the caste system has been a source of political weakness of India. By dividing the society into thousands of castes and sub-castes, it made impossible for the Hindus to be united into a strong nation. Secondly, the caste system weakened the defence of the country The defence of the country was the’ duty of the Kshatriyas alone. The rest of the population did not come forward to fight against the foreign invaders. Thirdly, it is against the principle of equality It harms the higher as well as the lower castes. It breeds in the former a false sense of pride and superiority and in the latter a feeling of inferiority. Fourthly, the most unfortunate result of the caste system was the practice of untouchability. Till recently, the untouchables could not use the same wells, bathe in the same tanks and offer prayers in the same temples as the higher castes. It thus created hatred between the people of different castes. It sapped the strength of the national life. As the untouchables were regarded as out-castes, a large number of them left the Hindu-fold and embraced other religions like Christianity and Islam. Fifthly, the caste system practised in India is against the spirit of brotherhood of mankind. In the ‘modern times, the division of the society into castes and creeds is undesirable.

Causes of Decline of Caste System

The caste system has lost its rigidity due to the following factors:
1. Work of Socio-religious reformers. Socio-religious reformers like Chaitanya, Ramananda, Kabir, Guru Nanak Dev, Baja Ram Mohan Roy and Swami Dayananci strongly condemned the caste system. They started powerful movements against it. Mahatma Gandhi also tried to remove caste barriers in the society. He spread the spirit of brotherhood of mankind and brought all the sections of the society in the national movement.
2. Impact of West thought and scientific development. The Western thought and the growth of science and technology have created liberal outlook among the people. Inventions of different means of mass media like the newspapers, radio, television have also brought social awakening among the people. The growth of literacy has also helped in the eradication of the caste system.
3. Means of Transport. The development of means of transport like the railways, buses and aeroplanes have contributed much to the break down of caste barriers. The people belonging to all castes sit together and partake the same food while travelling. It has developed a feeling of oneness. This naturally gives a setback to the rigidity of caste system.
4. Large scale industrialisatlon. The growth of large scale industries has led to the growth of big cities. The people belonging to different classes have migrated to these towns to earn their livelihood. They live together in the same buildings or areas. They become neighbors and break their caste barriers. They combine together and fight shoulder to shoulder for their common cause.

Government Efforts for the Eradication of Caste System after Independence

The Constitution of India has made India a secular and democratic country. The government has passed laws about the inheritance of property and legitimacy of the children born out of inter-caste marriages. The Constitution has abolished the practice of untouchability. To practice untouchability in any form is a criminal offence.

Future of Caste System

Today, the political, social and economic conditions are no longer favourable for maintaining caste distinctions. The spread of education, the development of scientific outlook, the growing spirit of equality among the people, the advance of industrialisation etc. are slowly but certainly helping in the disappearance of caste system from India. The vocation is no longer, a sure index of caste. For instance, many Brahmans are setting up as traders, shopkeepers and industrialists. The other castes are adopting the professions of teaching. Inter-dining and mixing at social functions have given a severe blow to the caste system. The great social and political leaders and educationally advanced Hindus are making
efforts to purge the Hindu society of the evils of caste system.

Communalism in India- Causes and Prevention

Communalism and casteism are the most formidable problems which are eating into the very vitals of the Indian society They are not inter-related but their evil effects on the society are similar. These problems encourage disruptive forces and give a severe setback to national unity.

Communalism

India is a vast country and it has a large population. People belonging to different castes, religions and creeds live here. They speak different languages and follow different methods of worship. They have different traditions and practices. But in spite of this diversity, there is a sense of national unity among all the people. In the revolt of 1857, both Hindus
and Muslims, fought shoulder to shoulder to drive away the British from India. After the rising of 1857, the British attempted to create hatred between the two communities. They followed the policy of Divide and Rule. They, in the beginning, favoured the Hindus at the cost of Muslims. Later, they favoured Muslims to keep them away from the national movement. National leaders like Gandhiji strove hard to bring the two communities together. They made efforts to make India a secular state.
But by 1947, the communal problem became intense and led to the partition of the country.

Nature and Characteristics of Communalism

1. Communalism is concerned with the ideological differences between different religious. Sometimes one religion is split up into
different sects. There is a feeling of mutual distrust among the different sects of a particular religion. For example there is the division of Islam in two main sects, Shias and Sunnis or the division of Christianity into Catholic and Protestant churches.
2. Every communal group considers itself superior to the others. As a result, one group begins to hate the others.
3. Communalism creates an attitude of isolation among different communal groups. Every group believes that the other groups wants to destroy them. One group is always on the look out for the opportunity to harm the other.
4. Communalism isolates the different groups from one another ,politically. The group which has political power ensures the protection of the interests of its own members only. It creates feelings of hostility and hatred among the members of other communal groups, which have ii political power.

Causes of Communalism

Communalism in India is a complex problem which has varied and many causes.
1. Historical Factor. Before the Muslim conquest, India was considered as a Hindu country. The Muslim rulers of India like Mahmud Ghazni, Muhammad Ghori and Aurangzeb were intolerant towards the Hindus. They levied Jazii and pilgrim tax n them and destroyed their temples. They also converted Hindus to Islam by force or by persuasion. Such policies of the Muslim rulers created bitterness and hatred between the Hindus and Muslims. This hatred between the two communities persisted even during the British rule. The British further worsened the situation by following a policy of “Divide and Rule” to keep them aloof from each other.

2. Psychological Factor. After independence, the Muslims have been feeling that they are exploited by the majority of Hindus. They have misgivings that they are not enjoying the same rights which are being enjoyed by the Hindus. These feelings have kept the Muslims away from active politics of the country. They do not come forward to compete for high government jobs. The psychological feelings of separation have many a time increased the communal feelings in the society. In case the government attempts to protect the rights of the minorities, the Hindus resent.

3. Cultural Factor. The Hindus, Muslims and other communities have lived for centuries in close contact but even then much cultural assimilation has not taken place. They are till following their own way of life. For example, the Muslims believe in only one God but the Hindus worship many gods aid goddesses. The Muslims are polygamous while the Hindus are monogamous. Divorce can be easily granted among the Muslims but among the Hindus it is not so easy.

4. Religious Factor. India is a secular state and the government is neutral in religious matters. Everybody has been granted religious freedom. Due to this freedom, every religious group tries to strengthen its own organisations. Many a time some religious groups spread bitter feelings against the other groups and even resort to violence.

5. Geographical Factors. The followers of one religion generally tend to live in the same locality Minority groups prefer to live near one another because nearness gives them a sense of security. This tendency creates wide gap between the different communities which live apart from one another.

6. Economic Factors. The problem of communalism is more acute in those areas in which there is unemployment, illiteracy and poverty. The local leaders fail to offer any solution for these problems. They rather attribute them to religious disparities. The economic distress often leads to communal riots. The community which fails to get the benefits which the majority is enjoying resorts to violence.

7. Political Factors. The foundation of communal politics was laid during the British rule. Many communal parties such as Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha, Akali Dal looked after the interests of their own communities. Even now after independence, there are many political parties which promote the interests of their own members at the cost of the whole nation. They openly spread communal feelings to win elections.

8. International forces. The communal parties in India receive support and financial aid from the foreign countries. They instigate the communal parties to destabilise and disintegrate India.

Harmful Effects of Communalism

1. Setback to national unity. Communalism divides the society into different groups bitterly opposed to one another. The members of every group are loyal to their own group rather than to the country as a whole. The feelings of hatred, jealousy and revenge make them one another’s enemy. Only a small pretext is sufficient to cause communal riots and disturb the peace of the country.
2. Loss of life and property. It gives chance to anti-social elements to create large scale disturbances, arson, loot and plunder. Thousands of innocent people are killed and property is destroyed.
3. Political Problems. Communalism often creates the problem of peace and security in the country. The opposite communal parties unduly criticize the government and often create communal tension in the society by encouraging communal feelings. The people lose interest in the public affairs.
4. Retards Economic Progress. The people involve themselves into the communal problems and do not give attention to their economic progress. The capitalists do not invest money in the areas infested with communal troubles and do not establish industries there. It results in the problems like unemployment and poverty.

Communalism opposed to Democracy: Communalism is opposed to the principle of democracy. Democracy is based on liberty, equality, brotherhood, toleration and respect for public opinion. Communalism is opposed to all these good qualities. It, thus a great hindrance in the smooth working of a democratic government.

What steps should we take to end the curse of Communalism?

1. Our Constitution declares India a secular state. Everybody has the freedom of religion, belief and worship. There is no state religion in India. All the citizens have been granted equal rights. Everybody has equal opportunity to hold any office of the government without any distinction of caste, colour and creed. It is the primary duty of the government to see that there is no discrimination in any sphere on the basis of religion.
2. We should create a spirit of oneness in the country. National integration is the need of the hour. All the communities must honour the religious sentiments of the other communities. All must work for a strong, united and prosperous nation.
3. The publicity media like the newspapers, journals, radio and television should create the spirit of unity and integrity among the people.
4. School and college text books should reflect the spirit of tolerance, patriotism and discipline.
5. Cultural and religious organisations should organise programmes to preach the message of brotherhood and national integration.

Gender Equality in India

Our ancient sacred books show that the women were highly respected. All the religious ceremonies were performed by the husband and wife together. Every mother was more or less of a goddess to her children. She was also mistress in the household matter. Marriage was a sacred ceremony. A woman had the freedom in the choice of her partner. Polygamy was rare. Widow remarriage was not prohibited. Child marriage was unknown. Thus the standard of female morality was very high. She enjoyed an honorable position in the society.Gradually, the position of women in the society began to deteriorate. Evils like child marriage, prohibition of widow remarriage and female infanticide crept in the society. The women were confined to the household. A woman was expected to rear children, prepare food and remain obedient to her husband throughout her life. Even now the conditions remain more or less the same in the villages and small towns.

Gender Equality in India

The history of equality of men with women or gender equality is very old. The women have been discriminated in the different spheres of life. Since times immemorial, the women have been suppressed in the male dominated society. Their role has been limited only to the four walls of their homes. They are only expected to bring up the children and look after the male members of the family. Many religious books have also supported gender inequality and the subordinate role of the women. As a result, the women have been ill-treated. They have not been given opportunities to make progress in the society. But the supporters of gender equality give the following arguments in its favour.

Arguments for Gender Equality

In the first place, women are human beings and not merely things of sex or sexual beings. Common man looks upon women as mothers, wives, sisters and beloveds, but they are human beings like men and objects of respect. Every human being should get equal status ii the society.
Secondly, women are n less intelligent than men. They have the ability to regulate their own life. So a woman need not be treated as an appendage of man. Thirdly, the women are entitled to equal civil, economic and political rights as other human beings. They also participate in all the activities of the society vigorously and lead better lives. Fourthly, the society does not give the women equal opportunities to develop their faculties. But if the women are given equal opportunities in all the aspects of life, they can contribute much to the progress of the society. Fifthly, when the women are as intelligent, hard working and well educated as man, they should not be confined only to the four walls of home. They should have the right to choose their career. It shall give them opportunity to prove their worth in respective fields. They shall also become
financially self-dependent. Sixthly, every country gives personal freedom to all its citizens, the woman should be given complete freedom to choose her life partner. Marriage is a contract between two independent and equal human beings so the marriage is based on mutual consent. The woman should not be denied the right to choose her life partner. If a woman does not want to marry, she should be left completely free to do so. Seventhly, generally the society expects a woman to work like a machine in the house from morning till evening. Why should the household activities be the responsibility of women alone? The husband should also perform household duties along with his wife. Eighthly, the woman must have equal right to inherit property. She should also have the right to acquire and dispose of property. Ninthly, the husband and wife are equal partners in the family. The relations between the husband and wife cannot be superior and inferior. Their relations should be on the basis of equality.

Measures taken for the Emancipation of Women

1. Work of Social Reformers. In the early nineteenth century, the social rçformers like Rajjm Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and later Swami Dayanand, Keshab Chandra Sen, Karve, Jayotiba Phule and Sister Nivedatta took up the cause of women. Many religious reform movements like the Brahmo Samaj, Rama Krishna Mission and the Theosophical Society also started movements to improve the condition of women. They established schools and colleges for imparting education to women. They encouraged the widows to re-marry. They condemned Purdah system, child marriage and the practice of Sati. Their efforts brought improvement in the position of women in the society.

2. Influence of National Movement. In the twentieth century the women also played an active role in the national movement. They took part shoulder to shoulder with men in the protest meetings, agitations, picketings, boycott of foreign goods and Satyagraha. They suffered lathi blows and faced bullets. The women also went to jails during the freedom struggle. The women political leaders brought awakening among the Indian women and made them conscious about their rights. The most prominent women leaders were Sarojini Naidu, Vijay Laxmi Pandit, Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay, Sucheta Kriplani, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur etc. The enlightened women leaders established the All India Womens’ Conference in 1927. It worked for the uplift of the women folk. Under the leadership of Gandhiji, the Congress made the uplift of women a part of its national programme.

3. Government Efforts. Our Government has also taken many measures to ameliorate the condition of women. The Constitution gives equal rights to both men and women. It also gives equal opportunities of work to women along with men and equal pay for equal work to all. Polygamy has been prohibited by law among the Hindus. The women have been given equal right to inherit the property of their parents. Prostitution has been banned.

Strict laws have been passed prohibiting dowry. Any person accepting dowry can be imprisoned t for five years and fined up to fifteen thousand rupees..To provide more facilities for education to women, many separate schools and colleges have been  opened for them. This encourages women to come forward to receive education. A bill for the reservation of one-third seats for the women in the Central and State legislatures will soon be placed before the Parliament. It will give women more opportunities to take active part in the politics of the country It will raise their prestige and status in the society. No doubt, women have contributed much for the welfare of the society and making the country a prosperous. But unfortunately, most of the women in India do not enjoy a proper place in the society. There are many disabilities from which they still suffer.

There is no doubt that the demand for gender equality and emancipation of women is timely and t welcome. It is a reaction against the male domination in every walk of life. From the olden times, the women had suffered from injustice and exploition. Now they have risen against the rotten patriarchal society and their revolt is justified. The women have succeeded in achieving their civil, economic, political and cultural rights. They are contributing much to the welfare of the society and making the nation prosperous. Indian women are in military, paramilitary and police forces. They are pilots in our fighter aircrafts. They have crossed the highest mountain peaks shoulder to shoulder with men mountaineers. But unfortunately, most of the uneducated and poor class women still do not enjoy a proper place in the society The condition of village women has not improved much. There are many disabilities from which they suffer. The Constitution grants gender equality Our government has passed many laws for the advancement of women. It has set up commissions and corporations for the welfare C of the women. But these measures cannot prove to be of much use unless a woman asserts her rights as an individual in the same way that a male does.

Importance of Health

The Human Development is the combination of three objectives—growth, equity, and democracy. The human development report published by the U.N.O. 1997 described Human Development as the “the process of widening people’s choices and the level of well being they achieve are at the core of the notion of human development”.

The Human Development Index measures the average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development.
1. A long and healthy life as measured by life expectancy at birth
2. Knowledge as measured by the adult literacy rate
3. A decent standard of living as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.

Before calculating Human Development Index, the index for each
of the above three dimensions is created. For this purpose maximum
and minimum values are chosen for each indicator.

CHALLENGES TO SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 

Since the dawn of civilization, the Indian society has undergone great social changes and developments. The simple primitive society gradually made much advances in social, economic, political and cultural spheres. Despite this remarkable progress, the human development faces ,many challenges. The modern way of living has given rise to many problems. They are health, environmental pollution, gender inequality and the exploitation of women.

HEALTH

‘Health is wealth’ is an old saying which holds true for all times. Health is synonymous with life. It means a life which is free from disease and mental ill-health. Good health implies soundness of mind as well as body. A person must be physically fit and mentally alert in undertaking any kind of work-Physical as well as mental. Disease is the symptom of ill-health. It is a sort of warning to an individual that some vital organ of the body is not functioning in a normal way. He may be unhealthy because of some deficiency of calcium, or iron, or salt, or Vitamins, proteins or because of harmful germ in his blood. A sick person cannot perform his duties efficiently. The unhealthy persons decrease the manpower of the country. They cannot take active interest in the public affairs. They cannot contribute to the social and economic progress of the country. They rather become a burden on their family and the society.

The Hindus and the Greeks in the ancient times realised the importance of good health. The society emphasised the importance not only of bodily health but also of mental and moral health. Bodily health and spiritual glow were the ideals of the ancient Indians.

In the modern times, the importance of health is being fully realised by every country The rapid industrialisation of the countries, the environmental pollution, the tendency of the village people to
migration to cities, has adversely affected the physical health of the people. The stress and strain of the modern day life has greatly increased the number of people suffering from mental disease. Factories and big industries belch out smoke and poisonous gases with the result that the air all around is polluted. The slums with their most insanitary conditions, the narrow streets littered with filth and refuse, the congested areas with no proper ventilation all have a telling effect on the health of the people living in the cities and towns. The condition in the villages is no better. Most of the villages have no supply of clean drinking water. They have no proper sewerage system and the dirty water collects in the stagnant pools. The people living in such unhealthy conditions are usually pale looking and are prey to contagious diseases which take a heavy toll of life. The problem of health has naturally become a cause of great concern for the governments particularly in the poor and developing countries. A serious attention is now being paid to this problem by the governments.

In India, there is a marked difference in the availability and access of medical facilities in different parts of the country The North-Eastern regions do not get so much health facilities as compared to the other regions of the country The Government has launched national health programmes to control communicable and non-communicable diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, blindness, AIDS, diabetes, cancer etc. Malaria used to be a widespread disease in India. In 1976, there were 64.7 lakh cases of malaria in the country. As a result of the efforts of the World Health Organisation and the Indian Government, the number of cases of this disease declined to 23 lakhs by 1985, in spite of the increase in the burden of population and rapid urbanisation. Since 1997, there has been further decline in the incidence of this disease. The National Health Programme aided by the World Bank was successfully completed at the end of 2000 A.D. after six and a half years efforts. This programme has greatly reduced the incidence of leprosy cases. The number of leprosy cases has come down from 57 per ten thousand in 1981 to 5.2 per 10000 by March 2000. Numerous leprosy cases have been cured by Multi Drug Therapy. It is hoped that the incidence of this disease will be reduced to I per ten thousand by the end of 2003. Under the Revised National T.B. Control Programme, the patient cure rate has increased to 8 out of 10 cases.

India has more than one crore blind people. The government has launched a programme to reduce blindness rate from 1.4 per cent to 1.3 per cent. The cataract operations programme has achieved much success. During 1999-2001, 35 lakh operations were performed as against about 33
lakhs in 1998-1999 A.D. The most dangerous disease HTV/AIDS is spreading at an alarming speed in the world. It is not only a public
health problem but a socio-economic issue too. In India, the  second phase of National Aids Control Programme was started in November 1999 to be spread over next five years. It is estimated to cost 1425 crore rupees. The programme aims to reduce HIV infections and to propagate awareness
among the people about the menace of AIDS. An International AIDS Conference was held at Barcelona in August 2000. It was suggested that the world organisations should declare AIDS as health emergency in every country. A fund should be created to finance research for the discovery of preventive vaccination. With the help of the W.H.O., India has launched Polio Pulse Vaccination Programme to eradicate and prevent the incidence of polio. The programme aims to achieve zero incidence of polio in
the country.

The World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) is one of the specialized agencies of the U.N. Its aim is to check and control infectious as well as contagious diseases which are a threat to the people especially in the poor countries. The W.H.O. has done a commendable work in the control of tuberculosis, venereal diseases, cholera, small pox, plague and yellow fever. The U.N. medical experts are sent to every nook and corner of the world and with the close co-operation of local medical experts, campaigns are launched against the fatal diseases.

The discovery of anti-biotic drugs and better surgical apparatus and the use of atomic energy for treatment of diseases like cancer have increased considerably the longevity of man. The rate of mortality has gone down considerably.

The Factors of Social Change

Every society undergoes changes with the changing conditions of life and environment. The word change or development denotes a difference in anything observed over some period of time. society which may be static does not exist in the real sense. Change is the law of nature. If we make a comparative study of ancient society with the modern society, we will be amazed to find that it has undergone tremendous changes.

But some questions arise about the nature of change, for example, “What is the direction of social change? Why its rate varies in different societies at different historical periods? What is the cause of the social change?”

In every society the nature and rate of social change have been different, it has never been uniform. Moreover, different aspects of a society change at different rates and times. In some societies, science and technology may be advancing fast, while in others religious changes may be going ahead. It has been observed that technically advanced societies change rapidly as compared to the conservative societies.

Nature of Social Change

Social changes occur in all societies. Change from pastoral to tribal system, from agricultural to industrial may result in deep structural changes in the society. Changes must occur in all societies. But the rate of change may be different in different societies. Social development often is unpredictable. It is difficult to make any prediction as to what direction the social change will take. For instance, we can hope that the social
reform movements in India will remove the evil of untouchability but
we cannot predict the exact form which social reforms will assume in
future.

The social change is the result of the interaction of various factors.
But no single factor can be held responsible for all the changes that
are occurring in all aspects of social life. Developments in one part
influence the other parts and in this way the whole social structure is
involved.

The Factors of Social Change

Social changes occur in all societies in all periods of history. But
the speed and quality of change differ from one society to another. In
one society the process of change is rapid while in another it is slow.
There are various factors which determine the rate and direction of
social development. The usual factors of change are the following
First, there are biological factors. They include (a) plants or
vegetation in the area. The way human beings use the plants and
animal life determine their culture. For example, the Hindus worship
snakes and peepal tree. They regard the cow as a sacred animal.

Changes in geographical conditions such as climate, drying of lakes or streams bring changes in the way of living of the people. These changes affect the nature of man’s struggle for existence. (b) Technological factors. Technology radically changes the process of production. Technology affects social development greatly in that a variation in technology causes variation in social institutions and Customs. The change in technology is often in material environment and modifies of our customs, institutions and economic life. The changes in technology led to the migration of working class to the factories in the towns. industrialization led to the emergence of two classes—labour and capital. A middle class has also emerged. It has given birth to a new current of thinking. Trade union movements have come into existence. Lockouts, strikes, processions and demonstrations have become the stocks in trade of- those who promote class interests. These are the regular features of the economic activity. Technology has also led to the development of new means of transport and communication such as postal service, telegraph, telephone, e-mail, fax etc. These means lead to mutual exchange between different cultures. The development of technology has improved the condition of women. The burden of work on the women in a family has decreased by the increasing use of mechanical devices. The industrial society has affected the caste system in India. People belonging to various classes work together in factories. It is now difficult to keep lower classes at a distance from higher castes. Besides, the people belonging to different classes come closer in hotels, clubs, public means of transport such as buses, railways. Today, the suitability of match for marriage is no longer measured by caste but by status in the society. Modem technology has led to the disintegration of joint family system in India. It has led to the liberation of women. It has affected the authority of the father as the head of the family.

Cultural factors also play an important role in the process of social change. Culture gives speed and direction to social change and determines the limits beyond which social changes cannot occur. There is a correlation between the social forms and the ideas, beliefs and ideologies underlying them. A change in religion and morality brings a subsequent change in beliefs, attitudes and aspirations of the people. A change in the form of marriage brings a change in the family set up. In India as caste
a system is on the decline, the Hindu social organizations are undergoing changes subsequently. The change in the quality and size of the population have an effect upon social organization as well as customs, traditions, institutions, associations etc. The size of population affects standard of living, social values, beliefs and social organizations. The increase of population in the poor countries increases poverty, disease and unemployment. As a result, the fall in their standard of living is inevitable.
Sometimes men and women are not in the same ratio. It may affect form of marriage, family and working force of the society.

World Labour Market and International Migration

World Labour Market is a place where the labour is demanded and supplied. When demand for labour and supply of labour is equal in the world labour market then there will be equilibrium in the world labour market. In this context international migration plays a vital role. There is no equilibrium in the world labour market because underdeveloped countries are excess in labour supplies while developed countries are less in labour supply.

International migration is not easily possible even after the adoption to Globalisation polices. There is no free flow of labour in the international market. Developed countries are making hindrances-in the labour migration while underdeveloped countries are fitting this issue in the W.T.O.’s conferences. These issues are also raised by the underdeveloped countries in the recent conference of W.T.O. at Doha (Qatar) which was held from 9-14 November, 2001. Even World Bank and IMF have been insisting for quite some time that every country should introduce labour market reforms to allow employers shift workers from one unit to another and also retrench excess labour. It is the danger of retrenchment that is causing worry to working class. This worry can only be solved by international migration of labour. The new economic policy has opened up the doors to MNCs. These tendencies are found to have serious implications for the workers as MNCs employ capital intensive technology. So the interest of the labour can only be watched if there is an international migration of labour without any hindrances. This tendency will lead to equilibrium in the world labour market.

SKILL DEVELOPMENT

Skill development is associated with investment in man and his development as a creative productive resource. The factors which are responsible for skill development are as follows:
(1) Health facilities and services must increase which will increase the life expectancy, strength and stamina.
(2) Skill can be developed by job training including old type apprenticeships organised by firms.
(3) Skill development can take place by formally organised education at the elementary secondary and higher level.
(4) Study programmes for adults including extension programmes notably in agriculture.
(5) Migration of individuals and families to adjust to changing job opportunities.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT

The word ‘entrepreneur’ has been taken from the French language where it was originally meant to designate an organizer of musical or other entertainments. But in Economics, an entrepreneur is an economic leader who possesses the ability to operate economic activities successfully. He is energetic, resourceful, alert to new opportunities.

Efforts Undertaken by the Government to Increase Employment

Government of India, from the very beginning, has been making special efforts to increase employment opportunities in the country Since Fourth Plan, it has re-doubled its efforts in this direction. The main steps taken by the Government to remove unemployment are as follows:

(a) Small Farmers’ and Marginal Farmers’ Development Agencies have been established.
(b) Integrated Rural Development Programme was started in 1978.
(c) In 1980, Government of India launched National Rural Employment Programme in place of Food for Work Programme.
(d) On 15th August, 1979, the Government started National Scheme of Training of Rural Youth Self-employment to reduce unemployment among the youth.
(e) On 15th August, 1983, Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Scheme was launched to provide employment to landless agricultural workers.
(f) With a view to reduce unemployment, Government has made special efforts to develop small and cottage industries. In 1990-91, as many as 315 lakh persons were employed in these industries. A sum of Rs. 34 crores was spent in 1991 in order to promote Self-employment Scheme.
(g) In 1969, Government of India nationalised 14 banks and in 1980 again 6 banks were nationalised with a view to provide self-employment.
(h) The facilities of employment exchanges have been increased.
(i) Employment Guarantee Scheme has been launched in many states.
(j) On 28th April, 1989, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana was launched. The objective of this Yojana is to provide employment to at least one member of each poor family for fifty to hundred days a year at work place near his residence.
(k) Employment Assurance Scheme was started in 1993.
(l) Prime Minister Rozgar Scheme was also started in 1993.
(m) In 1996, Prime Minister’s Integrated Urban Poverty Eradication Programme was launched.
(n) In 1999, Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana was launched.
(o) In 1999, Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana was started.
(p) In 2000-2001, Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY) was introduced with the objective of focussing on village level development in five critical areas Le. health, primary education, drinking water, housing and rural roads, with the overall objective of improving the quality of people in the rural
areas.
(q) Samagra Awaas Yojana was launched as a comprehensive housing scheme in 1999-2000.
(r) Annapuma Scheme came into effect from April 1, 2000.
(s) Krishi Shramik Suraksha Yojana was launched in July, 2001.
(t) Shiksha Sahyog Yojana has been finalised for providing educational allowance of Rs. 100 per month to the children of parents living below the poverty line for their education from 9th to 12th standard.
(u)Food for Work Programme was launched in February 2001.

Problem of Unemployment in India

Economists refer unemployment to that situation where a person is ready to work at the prevailing wage rate but employment is not readily available.

In developed economies, the nature of unemployment problem is quite different as compared to that of under-developed economies. In developed economies, problem of achieving full employment is relatively simple though not always easy because, as the capital structure increases, both the labour force and the capital are gainfully employed. This results in the production of a larger output and its profitable sale in the market. But so far as the under-developed or less-developed economies are concerned, this process is not so simple because here the problem is more complicated due to availability of less capital as compared to the available labour force.

The developed economies have already built a large capital structure te. not only machinery and equipment in factories and farms but also the social and economic infrastructure. Thus, the developed economies take much less time in tackling the problem of unemployment. But in under-developed economies the capital structure is far too small; it cannot absorb the huge labour force, that is why the problem of unemployment is secular in these economies.

In an under-developed country like India, the problem of unemployment and under-development is both very acute and serious. Unemployment is widespread in the country and the quantum of unemployment has been increasing with every five year plan. Unemployment is a curse because it is an indication of poverty for a man, downfall for a society and loss of human resources for a nation.

Types of Unemployment

Unemployment is of various types but only five types have been discussed below:

(a) Structural Unemployment. This type of unemployment is related to the structural set up of the economy and arises when (a) there is a shortage of other inputs like capital, land etc., (b) labor force is trained in the traditional industries but these do not possess any skill. Thus, the types of labourer which are needed are not available, (c) the social and economic structure of the country is backward and traditional. Thus, the availability of employment is lesser as compared to the labour supply. India’s unemployment is structural in nature. It is associated with inadequacy of productive capacity to create enough jobs for all those able and willing to work.

This sort of unemployment is not a temporary phenomenon in the sense that it will pass off on its own after a lapse of time. It is chronic. It requires for its solution the application of long-term measures for remedying the defects in the economic structure. In other words, it is the development of the economy alone that can take care of unemployment.

(b) Disguised Unemployment. Disguised unemployment is one of the features of under-developed countries. It implies that more than required number of people are engaged in a given job. For instance, a field measuring one hectare needs the services of two persons for its cultivation, if however five persons are engaged on this farm, then it means that three persons are disguised unemployed. According to Nurkse, in predominantly agricultural under-developed countries, some 20 to 25 per cent of the working force falls in the category of disguised unemployed.

(c) Seasonal Unemployment. There are some industries and occupations such as agriculture, the catering trade in holiday resorts, some agro-based industrial ac,activities, like sugar mills and rice mills etc. in which production activities are seasonal in nature. So, they offer employment for only a certain period of time in a year. For instance, work in sugar mills lasts for about six months. Rice mills work only for a few weeks. Agriculture offers employment at the time of ploughing and at the time of harvesting. In agriculture when one crop is grown, due to any reason, then the farmer is employed and is unemployed after the crop period is over.
In short, during the off-season, there is unemployment of people engaged in such types of work of activities which cater to the seasonal demand. We may call it “seasonal unemployment”. Even self- employed people may be seasonally unemployed, off the season.  This poses a serious problem of wastage of productive resources for an under-developed country which is already deficient in capital resources.

(d) Industrial Unemployment. This type of unemployment is found in urban sector. it is found among those illiterate persons who are unable to get job in industries, business or constructions.,Technical unemployment in industrial sector has been increasing in India too, like western countries, with the use of labour—saving devices and modernisation of industries since the establishment of large scale industries in India. Industrial unemployment has also increased due to migration. of people from rural areas to urban areas. Thus, in the industrial sector the supply of labour has increased but not the employment.

(e) Educated Unemployment. This type of unemployment is found among the educated persons Educated unemployment can be both open unemployment and under-employment. In 1999, about 15.8 lakh people in engineering, medical, agriculture, arts, science and commerce and post-graduates were unemployed in India and the number of matric passed unemployed was 96 laths. In the 9th plan about 1.63 crore educated labour force is expected to increase and provisions have to be made to provide employment to educated persons. In 1961, there were 6 lakh registered educated unemployed and this number increased to 218 lath at the beginning of the Ninth Plan.

Causes of Unemployment in India

The main causes of unemployment in India are as follows: (i) Slow economic growth, (ii) Rapid growth of population, (iii) Agriculture being a seasonal industry, (iv) Joint family system increasing disguised unemployment, (v) Increase in educated unemployment due to more expansion of industries &, (vi) Decline of cottage and small scale industries, (vii) Slow progress of large scale industries, (viii) Less saving and investment due to low capital formation, (ix) Caste system being a hindrance in the availability of job, (x) Immobility of labour, (xi) Migratory character of labour etc.

Measures to Solve Unemployment Problem in India

Following measures can be suggested to solve the problem of unemployment in India: (a) The investment structure in India must undergo a change. (b) Educational system in the country should be completely overhauled. (c) Cottage and small scale industries may be developed. (d) The means of transport may be developed. (e) Rapid rise in population must be checked. (f) Agriculture must be properly developed. (g) More Employment Exchanges may be opened. (h) Self employment may be encouraged. (i) Private sector may be given more subsidies and incentives.

Main Features of the Population of India

The study of human resources is vital from the point of view of economic welfare. It is particularly important because human beings are not only instruments of production but also ends in themselves. It is necessary to know in quantitative terms the number of people living in a country at a particular time, the rate at which they are growing and the composition and distribution of population. The demographic profile of India classifies the nature of population problem faced by us. Some of the salient features that emerge from it are as under:

1. Large Population base : From the point of view of population, India ranks second in the world and from the view point of area it occupies the 7th place. With 2.4% of the world area and 1.2% of the world’s income, India is supporting 16.6% of world’s population. In 1891, the total population of India was 23.67 crore. It increased to 102.70 crore in 2001. Current population of India is more than the population of U.S.A. and CIS taken together whereas the two countries have 21% of the world area.

2. High growth rate of population : The growth rate of population in India since the fifties has been consistently high and has been caused by continuously high fertility and declining mortality. Every year population increases by 1.7 crore. The compound annual growth rate of population during 1891 to 1921 was 0.19%; during 1921-51 it was 1.22%; during 1951-81 it was 2.15%. At present it is 1.95%.

3. High density of population : Density of population refers to me number of people living in one square kilometre area. India’s density of population was 117 in 1951. It has increased to 324 in 2001. It implies that the availability of land per person is falling. In comparison with other countries of the world, India occupies middle position.

4. Low expectation of life : Expectation of life refers to the average life of people of a country If the death rate is high life expectancy will be low and vice-versa. If the death rate occurs at an early age, life expectancy will be low and vice-versa. During the last few decades, the death rate in India has recorded too much fall. Due to this, life expectancy has increased in India. Life expectancy was 23 years in 1911. It increased to 63 years in 1999. In other countries of the world, life expectancy is between 70 to 80 years.

5. Sex ratio : Sex ratio means the number of women per 1000 men. The sex distribution of population in India shows two things (1) a higher ratio of males in the population (2) a falling tendency of the proportion of women in total population. The proportion of females per 1000 males has fallen from 962 in 1901 to 933 in 2001. Among the various States of India, Kerala alone shows a higher proportion of females per 1000 males in 2001.

6. Occupational Structure: By occupational structure we mean the distribution of work force in different occupations. In India, there is heavy dependence on primary sector. At present about 65% of the population is dependent on primary sector. Non-agriculture absorbing hardly 35% of the total working population i.e. 15% in secondary sector and 20° in tertiary sector. We also find that the dependence on primary sector from 1971 is falling and that on secondary and tertiary sectors is increasing. It is a good sign of the development of the country.

7. Age Structure : Age structure of the population of a country indicates the extent to which the population of that country is useful from the economic point of view. In 1911, 39% of the population was below the age group of 15 years. In 1991, it rose to 36.5%. In 1911, 60% of the population was in the age group of 15-60 years. In 1991, it came down to 57.1%. In 1911, 1% of the population was above 60 years of age. In 1991, it increased to 6.4%. On account of high birth rate in India, there has been no decline in the percentage of people below the age of 15 years.