The quality of life in India continues to be appalling with the country ranked poorly at 134 among 182 countries on the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that was released globally on Monday.
The ranking clearly shows India has slipped in comparative terms in ensuring a better quality of life for its citizens as in the previous index, published for 2007 and 2008 together, it ranked 128, while the position the year before was 126.
Normally published annually since 1990, the index goes beyond a nation's gross domestic product (GDP) to measure the general well-being of people under a host of parameters, such as poverty levels, literacy and gender-related issues.
"Overall, however, India has made steady progress on the Human Development Index (HDI). Its value has gone up from 0.556 in 2000 to 0.612 in 2007," said Patrice Coeur-Bizot, the resident representative of UNDP in India.
Among the countries in the neighbourhood, China, Sri Lanka and Bhutan rank higher than India at 92, 102 and 132, respectively, while Pakistan at 141, Nepal at 144 and Bangladesh at 146 rank lower.
Norway continues to top the chart, while Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Japan make up the top 10. The US is ranked 13, while Britain and Germany are further down at 21 and 22.
This year, the report focuses on migration -- "Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility and Development" -- to cast a new light on some common misconceptions on the subject and propose a series of policies to increase people's freedom and improve their lives.
It was released in India by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and goes on to highlight that nearly one billion of the world's estimated 6.7-billion population are migrants with women making up for almost half of that.