13. Education, Health and Social Reform
The agenda for improving sustainable livelihoods outlined above cannot be achieved without badly needed improvements in other important areas including education, health and people's mobilisation for social reform. The state of school education at present is extremely distressing, both in terms of high drop-out rate and the poor quality of education. School education has to be improved drastically in terms of mobilising higher resources as well linking education to the real needs of society. Health care for weaker sections including the majority of villagers is extremely poor. This has increased the sufferings of people and also contributed to the indebtedness and economic distress by pushing them towards expensive private treatment. Significantly improved public health facilities are a must.
Above all, any people centred path of development cannot be though of in isolation from the involvement and enthusiasm of people as well as the strength of their character. The alternative strategy of development outlined above cannot by implemented in conditions (such as exist today in many villages) where use of liquor and intoxicants is increasing, disputes among villagers are rising, social evils like dowry and gambling are spreading fast. There has to be a people's involvement for fighting social evils, for character building and for mobilising people for important development initiatives which can only succeed with their genuine involvement and participation.