India has been ranked lower than its neighbour Pakistan in the United Nation’s multi-dimensional poverty index (MDI) and gender equality index even though it has been able to maintain its 134 rank in overall Human Development Index (HDI).
The MDI evaluates deprivations in education, health and standard of living and the households with score of more than one-third of the weighted indicators are listed as multi-dimensionally poor.
The UN Development Programme’s HDI report says that 53.7% of Indians suffer from multi-dimensional poverty as compared to 49.4 % in Pakistan and 57.8% in Bangladesh.
Even in absolute poverty terms, measured for those earning less than $1.25 a day, Pakistan fares better than India. Around 41.6% of Indians in 2005 were earning less than $1.25 a day as compared to 22.6% Pakistanis.
When it comes to gender equality, India has been ranked lower than most of its neighbouring countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is primarily on account of India’s adolescent fertility rate, lesser number of women in Parliament and poor participation of women in workforce.
Releasing the report --- Sustainability and Equity : Better Future for All --- Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh said that not just inequality between nations but also inequalities within nations was very important.
He highlighted the finding of recent India Human Development Report, which said that Gujarat despite high economic growth had large deprived population of backwards and Kerala with low economic growth had lesser inequality.
“Economic development does not guarantee human development. A more disturbing fact is that actually economic development may lead to retrogation of social indices," he said.
India has been placed at ‘medium’ level of human development with ranking of 134 out of 187 countries on HDI even though its neighbours like Pakistan and Bangladesh have been ranked in 'low' category with positions of 145 and 146, respectively.
In the last report, India had been ranked at 119 out of 169 countries. But the new report for 2011 says it would 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 Human Development Index.
The report also showcases India’s human development with life expectancy increasing from 55.3 years in 1980 to 65.6 in 2011 and expected years of schooling increasing from 6.5 years to 10.3 years. India’s gross national income has also increased from $896 to $3,468 during the same period.