The Human Development Index (HDI) in the country rose by 21%, says a report while cautioning that health, nutrition and sanitation remained key challenges for the country.
India Human Development Report, 2011, prepared by Institute of Applied Manpower Research, placed Kerala on top of the index for achieving highest literacy rate, quality health services and consumption expenditure of people.
Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Goa were placed at second, third and fourth position respectively.
The report was released today by Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in the presence of Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh.
It said, as on today, two-thirds of the households in the country reside in pucca (cemented) houses and three-fourth of families have access to electricity for domestic use.
According to the report, India's HDI has registered an impressive gains in the last decade as the index increased by 21% to 0.467 in 2007-08, from 0.387 in 1999-2000.
However, it noted that Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Assam are those states which continue to lag behind in HDI and remain below the national average of 0.467.
At the same time, the quantum of improvement in HDI in some of the poor states was higher than the national average, the report said, citing the cases of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Assam.
The overall improvement in the index was largely attributed to the 28.5% increase in education index across the country. It ranges from 0.92 for Kerala to 0.41 in in the case of Bihar.
The improvement in the education index was the "greatest" in states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to name a few, the report said.
The analysis also indicates that improvement in the health index, as compared to education, has been lower. It ranges from 0.82 in Kerala to 0.41 in Assam.
It observed that despite the Right to Education Act, school education faces challenges of quality and employability.
The report also said that despite improvements, health, nutrition and sanitation challenges are most serious.