India Falls 15 Places In UN Human Development Index


By Subir Ghosh

Things are not improving in India at all. In fact, things are going from bad to worse. India’s rank in the Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has fallen from 119 in 2010 to 134 this year.

India’s HDI value for 2011 is 0.547—in the medium human development category—positioning the country at 134 out of 187 countries and territories. Between 1980 and 2011, India’s HDI value increased from 0.344 to 0.547, an increase of 59.0 per cent or average annual increase of about 1.5 per cent.

The rank of India’s HDI for 2010 based on data available in 2011 and methods used in 2011 is 134 out of 187 countries. In the 2010 HDR, India was ranked 119 out of 169 countries. However, the report cautioned, it could be misleading to compare values and rankings with those of previously published reports, because the underlying data and methods have changed, as well as the number of countries included in the HDI.

Norway, Australia and the Netherlands lead the world in the 2011 Human Development Index (HDI), while the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger and Burundi are at the bottom of the Human Development Report’s annual rankings of national achievement in health, education and income, released today by UNDP.

The United States, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Germany and Sweden round out the top 10 countries in the 2011 HDI, but when the Index is adjusted for internal inequalities in health, education and income, some of the wealthiest nations drop out of the HDI’s top 20: the United States falls from #4 to #23, the Republic of Korea from #15 to #32, and Israel from #17 to #25.

The 2011 Report—Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All—notes that income distribution has worsened in most of the world, with Latin America remaining the most unequal region in income terms, even though several countries including Brazil and Chile are narrowing internal income gaps. Yet in overall IHDI terms, including life expectancy

The HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. As in the 2010 HDR a long and healthy life is measured by life expectancy, access to knowledge is measured by: i) mean years of adult education, which is the average number of years of education received in a life-time by people aged 25 years and older; and ii) expected years of schooling for children of school-entrance age, which is the total number of years of schooling a child of school-entrance age can expect to receive if prevailing patterns of age-specific enrolment rates stay the same throughout the child’s life. Standard of living is measured by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita expressed in constant 2005 PPP$.

Between 1980 and 2011, India’s life expectancy at birth increased by 10.1 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.5 years and expected years of schooling increased by 3.9 years. India’s GNI per capita increased by about 287.0 per cent between 1980 and 2011.

India’s 2011 HDI of 0.547 is below the average of 0.630 for countries in the medium human development group and below the average of 0.548 for countries in South Asia. From South Asia, countries which are close to India in 2011 HDI rank and population size are Bangladesh and Pakistan which have HDIs ranked 146 and 145 respectively.

India’s HDI for 2011 is 0.547. However, when the value is discounted for inequality, the HDI falls to 0.392, a loss of 28.3 per cent due to inequality in the distribution of the dimension indices. Bangladesh and Pakistan show losses due to inequality of 27.4 per cent and 31.4 per cent respectively. The average loss due to inequality for medium HDI countries is 23.7 per cent and for South Asia it is 28.4 per cent.

India has a Gender Inequality Index (GII) value of 0.617, ranking it 129 out of 146 countries in the 2011 index. In India, 10.7 per cent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 26.6 per cent of adult women have reached a secondary or higher level of education compared to 50.4 per cent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 live births, 230 women die from pregnancy related causes; and the adolescent fertility rate is 86.3 births per 1000 live births. Female participation in the labour market is 32.8 per cent compared to 81.1 for men. In comparison, Bangladesh and Pakistan are ranked at 112 and 115 respectively on this index.

The most recent survey data that were publically available for India’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) estimation are from 2005. In India, 53.7 per cent of the population suffer multiple deprivations while an additional 16.4 per cent are vulnerable to multiple deprivations. The breadth of deprivation (intensity) in India, which is the average percentage of deprivation experienced by people in multidimensional poverty, is 52.7 per cent. The MPI, which is the share of the population that is multi-dimensionally poor, adjusted by the intensity of the deprivations, is 0.283. Bangladesh and Pakistan have MPIs of 0.292 and 0.264 respectively.

Asian Correspondent

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