India improves ranking in HDI score; placed 134 out of 193 countries | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India improves ranking in HDI score; placed 134 out of 193 countries

Mar 14, 2024 01:08 PM IST

India’s human development index (HDI) value saw an increase from 0.633 to 0.644 in 2022, placing the country in the medium human development category, just as in previous years

India has bettered its ranking on a global UN measure of well-being and quality of life of citizens, making progress for the first time since slipping in 2020 and 2021, according to the just-released 2023/24 Human Development Report titled, “Breaking the Gridlock: Reimagining Cooperation in a Polarized World”.

The HDI is an index computed based on 3 parameters – life expectancy, mean years of schooling and average incomes. (Representative file photo)
The HDI is an index computed based on 3 parameters – life expectancy, mean years of schooling and average incomes. (Representative file photo)

The world’s fifth-largest economy has been placed 134 out of 193 countries, the report said, as India’s human development index (HDI) value saw an increase from 0.633 to 0.644 in 2022, placing the country in the medium human development category, just as in previous years.

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The HDI is a composite index computed based on three parameters – life expectancy, mean years of schooling and average incomes – in contrast to gross domestic product (GDP), which is a gauge only of incomes or output in an economy.

Also Read:India slips one rank in UN human index rating

In 2022, India saw improvements across all HDI indicators – life expectancy, education and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita. Life expectancy rose from 67.2 to 67.7 years, expected years of schooling reached 12.6, mean years of schooling increased to 6.57 and GNI per capita saw an increase from $6,542 to $6,951, the report said.

The UN report also said India demonstrated progress in reducing gender inequality, with a value of 0.437 that is better than the global and South Asian averages.

India’s HDI value was 0.633 in 2021, down from 0.642 in 2020.

While the country has moved up in 2022, it is still behind its South Asian neighbours, such as Bangladesh (129th), Bhutan (125th), Sri Lanka (78th) and China (75th).

China has moved up three ranks, while Sri Lanka has dropped five spots, mainly to due to its economic crisis.

The latest HDI assessment, however, presents a miserable picture of a world that, while recovering from the pandemic’s shocks, is deeply divided and eclipsed by war.

“Uneven progress is leaving the poorest behind, exacerbating inequality, and stoking political polarization on a global scale. The result is a dangerous gridlock that must be urgently tackled through collective action,” the report said.

The report says that inequality across the world is rising again. After 20 years of convergence, the gap between the richest and poorest countries has started to widen from 2020.

“India has shown remarkable progress in human development over the years. But there is room for improvement. With a renewed focus on women-led development, India can further unlock socio-economic progress, paving the way for a brighter and more equitable future for all,” a statement from Caitlin Wiesen, the resident representative of United Nations Development Programme (India) said.

Since 1990, India’s life expectancy at birth has risen by 9.1 years; expected years of schooling have increased by 4.6 years and mean years of schooling have grown by 3.8 years. India’s GNI per capita has grown by approximately 287% since the 1990s.

One of India’s key achievements has been the progress in reducing gender inequality and it now ranks 108 out of 166 countries in the gender inequality index (GII) 2022.

The GII measures gender inequalities across three key dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment and labour market.

India’s GII value of 0.437 is better than the global average of 0.462 and the South Asian average of 0.478. The country’s performance in reproductive health is better than other countries in the medium human development group or South Asia, the report said.

India’s adolescent birth rate in 2022 was 16.3 (births per 1,000 women ages 15-19), an improvement from 17.1 in 2021.

To be sure, India also has one of the largest gender gaps in the labour force participation rate — a 47.8% difference between women (28.3%) and men (76.1%), the report states.

“India’s improvement on the HDI is a welcome development. But it underscores the need for higher investment in social infrastructure rather than a preoccupation with headline GDP numbers,” said Ashish Pai, a co-author of India’s first state-level human development index brought out by Madhya Pradesh in 1995.

The idea of human development, pioneered by economists Mahbub al Haq through the UNDP’s Human Development Reports, and Amartya Sen, who weighed in with a conceptual and theoretical framework for it, has now become an influential barometer of development.

According to its pioneers, human development is about people, not the economy, and it involves an enlarging of people’s choices, such as a longer, healthier life and education, along with income.

“If you only measure progress or advances in development by income, by per capita income, per capita GDP, you’re missing a significant part of what actually defines a human being’s perception of the conditions under which he or she lives,” UNDP administrator Achim Steiner said, releasing the latest assessment.

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