India, the third largest Asian economy, ranks a ‘medium’ 131 on the Human Development Index. Showing evident progress in sects like life expectancy at birth, the report also talks of job creation among other things.
India has ranked 131 in the latest Human Development report by the United Nations. Of the 189 countries listed in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which curates the report, the standing shows India having achieved a ‘medium’ stance or having a ‘medium human development’.
Having achieved a 46 pc increase in its HDI value between 1990 and 2015, India has ranked better than most of its SAARC counterparts including Bhutan (132), Bangladesh (139), Nepal (144), Pakistan (147) and Afghanistan (169), although they too fall in the ‘medium’ bracket.
India’s Human Development Index rank in 2014 was also 131.
While the list is being led by Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark, India’s progress chart doesn’t seem to have been overshadowed.
The report states that life expectancy at birth in India has increased from 68 years to an average of 68.3 years – 69.9 years for women and 66.9 years for men.
In the education sect, while expected years of schooling remain at 11.7 years, mean years of schooling increased from 5.4 to 6.3 years.
There was also a rise in the Gross National Income (GNI) based on per capita purchasing power parity (PPP) from USD 5,497 to USD 5,663.
Burundi, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and the Central African Republic are countries with the lowest rankings in the report.
The report uses what is known as the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) for calculating each country’s development value.
According to the UNDP, “The difference between the HDI and IHDI, expressed as a percentage of the HDI, indicates the loss in human development due to inequality.”
Currently, India’s HDI stands at a value of 0.624, which is a better number compared to 0.580, where it stood in 2010.
On the safety front, 69 pc women answered ‘yes’ to feeling safe, while on freedom of choice, 72 pc female responders answered they were ‘satisfied’ as compared to 78 pc for male. The overall life satisfaction score was 4.3 on a scale of 10.
The report also produced people’s perception about the government, wherein 69 pc said that they had trust in the national government for the period of 2014-15, while 74 pc showed their confidence in the judicial system.
The report also highlighted and praised the measures like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme taken in India to generate employment.
“Creating jobs through a public works programme targeted at poor people can reduce poverty through income generation, build physical infra- structure and protect poor people against shocks. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme in India and the Rural Employment Opportunities for Public Assets Programme in Bangladesh are prime examples,” the report elaborated.
Mentioning clean energy and the jobs the sector could generate, the report pointed out that investments in India in tune of 1.5 pc of GDP a year for 20 years will generate a net increase of about 10 million jobs annually after factoring in job losses from retrenchments in the fossil fuel industries.
The report also threw some light on the average human development, which it said had improved significantly since 1990, despite an uneven progress and discrimination against women, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities.
While the report stated that more and more people had access to education, health and sanitation, a focus on who is being left out and why need to be established.
“By eliminating deep, persistent, discriminatory social norms and laws, and addressing the unequal access to political participation, which have hindered progress for so many, poverty can be eradicated and a peaceful, just, and sustainable development can be achieved for all,” said UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark.