Chandigarh, May 9, It was ranked at the top spot among India's institutions of higher learning just four years ago. It's alumni includes a former President and two former Prime Ministers, among them Manmohan Singh. But today, the 135-year-old Panjab University (PU) is staring down the barrel of a staggering deficit upwards of Rs 345 crore ($53 million) -- with no immediate solution in sight.
Around 3.5 per cent of children between the ages of 11 and 14 years, and 13.5 per cent between the ages of 15 and 16 years were dropouts, while over 25 per cent of children in Grades I to VIII were absent from school on the day a team visited the school.
These are the findings of the 2016 Annual States of Education Report (ASER) survey of schooling and learning levels in rural India. The survey included over 560,000 children between three and 16 years, in 589 districts of India.
Bahraich and Mirzapur districts (Uttar Pradesh): "Path mera alokit kardo, naval prath ki naval rashmiyon se, mere ur ka tam har do," Saidun Ahmed, 8, recited a Hindi poem by Dwarika Prasad Maheshwari, a twentieth-century poet, at top speed. "Light up my path, with the morning sunlight light of the new sun, overcome the darkness within my heart."
At a time when Indias sex ratio at birth is low and declining -- from 909 (2011) to 887 (2014) -- there are, in poor, populous Uttar Pradesh, districts such as Aligarh, Moradabad, Mainpuri, Deoria and Balrampur, with sex ratios at birth exceeding 1,000 -- in other words, better than any state in India.
Over 21 years to 2014, the richest quintile -- top 20 per cent of the population by income? -- undergoing caesarean section deliveries in India has gone up from 10 per cent to 30 per cent, raising the country's average caesarean-section rates from five per cent to 18 per cent over the same period, according to a recent analysis of national health data. The rate of caesarean section among the poor has stayed the same over this period: five per cent.