Economy News


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Economy [Paper-II]: Indicators of development – Human Development Index


  • India ranked 129 out of 189 countries on the 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) according to the Human Development Report (HDR) released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • This is one rank ahead of the 130th position last year.
  • The rankings were listed by the report titled “Beyond Income, Beyond Averages, Beyond Today: Inequalities in Human Development in 21st century”.

What is HDI?

HDI measures average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development – Life Expectancy, Education and Per capita income.

Global Ranking

  • Norway, Switzerland, Ireland occupied the top three positions. Germany is placed fourth along with Hong Kong, and Australia secured the fifth rank on the global ranking.
  • Among India’s neighbours, Sri Lanka (71) and China (85) are higher up the rank scale while Bhutan (134), Bangladesh (135), Myanmar (145), Nepal (147), Pakistan (152) and Afghanistan (170) were ranked lower on the list.

Key Highlights

  • As per the report, South Asia was the fastest growing region in human development progress witnessing a 46% growth over 1990-2018, followed by East Asia and the Pacific at 43%.
  • India’s HDI value increased by 50% (from 0.431 to 0.647), which places it above the average for other South Asian countries (0.642).
  • For inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI), India’s position drops by one position to 130, losing nearly half the progress (.647 to .477) made in the past 30 years. The IHDI indicates percentage loss in HDI due to inequalities.
  • Group-based inequalities persist, especially affecting women and girls and no place in the world has gender equality. In the Gender Inequality Index (GII), India is at 122 out of 162 countries. Neighbours China (39), Sri Lanka (86), Bhutan (99), Myanmar (106) were placed above India.
  • World is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030 as per the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The Report forecasts that it may take 202 years to close the gender gap in economic opportunity — one of the three indicators of the GII.

Increasing Gender Bias

  • The report presents a new index indicating how prejudices and social beliefs obstruct gender equality, which shows that only 14% of women and 10% of men worldwide have no gender bias.
  • This indicates a backlash to women’s empowerment as these biases have shown a growth especially in areas where more power is involved, including in India.

Indian Scenario

  • Despite lifting 271 million people out of poverty between 2005-15, India still remains home to 28 per cent of the world’s poor.
  • Around 661 million of poor people live in Asia and the Pacific, of which India is a part. South Asia, of which India is the largest country, constitutes 41 percent of the world’s poor.
  • Between 1990 and 2018, India’s HDI value increased by 50 percent (from 0.431 to 0.647), which places it above the average for countries in the medium human development group (0.634) and above the average for other South Asian countries (0.642).

Changing Nature of Inequality

  • As the number of people coming out of poverty is increasing, the world is moving towards another type of poverty.
  • According to the Report, the old inequalities were based on access to health services and education whereas the next generation of poverty is based on technology, education and climate.
[Source: The Hindu, Down To Earth]

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