one of them is connected to one or more other threats. For example, the threat of terrorism is connected to the threat of proliferation of arms, including weapons of mass destruction. The threat to the security of our sea-lanes is connected to the threat to energy security. Low-intensity conflicts have a direct bearing on social cohesion. Technology security will be the key to building new institutions. Natural disasters, especially those caused by climate change, can wreck food security. Pandemics and diseases, if uncontrolled, can diminish our capacity to defend the borders against our adversaries or to defeat the militants within the country. National security is, therefore, caught in a complex spider’s web and unless we recognise that each strand of this web is connected to other strands, we would not be able to do justice to our fundamental obligation to protect and defend the security of the nation.
Defending and promoting national security stands on three important pillars: firstly, human resources; secondly, science and technology; and thirdly, money. I have placed money last, not because it is the least important, but because it is the most important pillar of national security. Without money, we cannot nurture and build our human resources. We need schools, colleges, universities, libraries, laboratories, skill development institutions and, above all, highly qualified teachers. Only now we have been able to achieve near-universal enrolment of children in school, but there are still problems in retention and, according to 2010-11 statistics, only 73% of children who enrol in class I complete five years of schooling and only 59.4% complete eight years of schooling. Despite having 32,987 colleges and 621 universities, the gross enrolment ratio is only 18.8%.
The central government spends only 0.67% of GDP on education (2010-11), and that includes all heads of expenditure that could be broadly brought under the subject ‘education’. It is estimated that all the state governments put together spend another 2.36% of GDP on education (2010-11). The percentages may appear modest, but the absolute amounts are quite large. Nevertheless, the average child enrolled in class V has only attained the competence of a