Defence vs education

April 24, 2012

Over the time you have been researching some issues, you would have visited 100s of articles and more often you come across articles written by normal public and not experts. For example, you start off with articles on defence spending in India, and you dig deep into the subject and reach a page “India tops in illiteracy and Defence Spending” on a Pakistani blog. Its the comments of such blogs I enjoy most. The article is honest with no data manipulations and the tone is, as expected, not so friendly. The comments however try to discredit the author and he defends it well. But sooner or later he turns on the pro-country arguments. This is after repeated assaults on Pakistan’s state of affairs. My point is, the article and some of his comments made very important points. A new way to view the problems. India has a literacy of 74% but in absolute numbers the illiterates are about 300 million which is close to the population of USA which is 312 million.

According to UNESCO estimates, there are about close to 1 billion illiterates in this world. We can say that one in every three illiterates in this world is an Indian. its all in data representation. Lets compare our results with that of China (since that is what we do after Agni-V launch), Brazil and South Africa.

China – literacy rate (Adult) – 95.9% according to 2009 report
Brazil – literacy rate (Adult) – 90% according to 2008 report
South Africa – literacy rate (Adult) – 89% according to 2008 report
India – literacy rate (total) – 74.04% according to 2011 report

(Adult is above 15 years)

China – literacy rate (youth) – 99.4% according to 2009 report
Brazil – literacy rate (youth) – 97.84 according to 2008 report
South Africa – literacy rate (youth) – 97.6 according to 2008 report
India – literacy rate (youth) – 82% according to 2009 report

(youth is 15 to 24 years)

Lets see how much is spent by the countries

China on the other hand spent close to 190 billion US dollars on Education and about 92 billion US dollars on Defence. (irrespective of the rumour that it spends nearly double the declared amount on defence, its still less than that of education)

Brazil Spends about 90 billion US Dollars on Education and about 34 billion US dollars on Defence. (Less for Defence and more for education)

South Africa spends about 24 billion US dollars on Education and about 5 billion US dollars on Defence. (Less for Defence and more for education)

India, in its latest budget spent close to 11 billion US dollars on Education and about 36 billion dollars on Defence. (More for Defence and less for education)

You know that population of India is 120 Cr, China is about 140 Cr, Brazil is about 19.4 Cr and that of South Africa is 5 Cr. Even if you do a crude per-capita expenditure calculation we can see that China, Brazil and South Africa spends more on each person than India does. Also, it spends more on education than on defence. Leave corruption aside and still these numbers are so not encouraging.

note : I have used the US dollars as a common currency for comparison. If there are any discrepancies in the data provided please do point it out.

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