India HDI value 2013 UNDP brackets India with Equatorial Guinea in human development index
India has been ranked 136 among 187 countries evaluated for human development index (HDI), a measure
for assessing progress in life expectancy, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living or gross
national income per capita. The Human Development Report of the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) for 2013 puts India’s HDI value for the last year at 0.554, placing it in the medium
human development category, which it shares with Equatorial Guinea.
On the positive side, India’s HDI value
went up from 0.345 to 0.554 between 1980 and 2012, an increase of 61 per cent or an average annual
increase of 1.5 per cent. Life expectancy at birth increased by 10.5 years, mean years of schooling by 2.5
years and expected years of schooling by 4.4 years. Importantly, the gross national income (GNI) per capita
went up 273 per cent, the report says. Interestingly, the report notes that social movements and the specific
issues media highlight do not always result in political transformations benefiting the broader society. Citing
the example of Anna Hazare’s “movement” against corruption, which pressured the government for change,
the report says critics, however, point out that such a campaign can favour policies that may not be
supported by a wider electorate. There is a word of appreciation for India for its policies on internal conflicts.
The report says, referring to Operation Green Hunt launched against Maoists, which has come under sharp
criticism from human rights activists within the country.
The other initiatives that have been lauded are the
right to education and the rural employment guarantee scheme that provides up to 100 days of unskilled
manual labour to eligible poor at a statutory minimum wage. Despite India’s progress, its HDI of 0.554 is
below the average of 0.64 for countries in the medium human development group, and of 0.558 for countries
in South Asia. From South Asia, countries which are close to India’s HDI rank and population size are
Bangladesh and Pakistan with HDIs ranked 146 each.
But the report points out that the ranking masks
inequality in the distribution of human development across the population. Even on the Gender Inequality
Index, inequalities in reproductive health, empowerment and economic activity, India has been ranked 132nd
among the 148 countries for which data is available. In India, only 10.9 per cent of the parliamentary seats
are held by women, and 26.6 per cent of adult women have reached a secondary or higher level of
education, compared with 50.4 per cent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 live births, 200 women
die of causes related to pregnancy, and female participation in the labour market is 29 per cent, compared
with 80.7 per cent for men. As for the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which identifies multiple
deprivations in the same household in education, health and living standard, India’s value averages out at
0.283, a little above Bangladesh’s and Pakistan’s. The figures for evaluating MPI have been drawn from the
2005-06 survey, according to which 53.7 per cent of the population lived in multidimensional poverty, while
an additional 16.4 per cent were vulnerable to multiple deprivations.