India Is Slowly Rising Up The HDI Ladder

The United Nations Development Programme has released the annual HDI report and India has picked up the pace.

What is HDI?

The Human Development Index is a list published by the United Nations Development Programme which measures the overall economic and social achievements made by a country. The results are based on the health of its citizens, their overall education and standard of living. The HDI is part of the Human Development Report which also includes other indices like the Gender Development Index, the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, the Multidimensional Poverty Index, and the Gender Inequality Index.

Where does India stand?

India has improved its rank by one position since 2018 and ranked 129 in 2019. Although we have successfully managed to lift 271 million people out of poverty in 2015-15, India remains the home of 28% of the world’s poor. In the last two and a half decades, India has improved its HDI by a whopping 50% and has crossed the medium human development group threshold into 0.647, which is higher than the average South Asian nation. However, we are only slightly above average when comparing the Gender Development Index with the rest of South Asia (India stands at 0.829) and are placed on the Gender Inequality Index at a lowly rank fo 122.

What is the global scenario?

Norway, Switzerland, and Ireland are at the top of HDI. Sri Lanka and China are the only two neighbors who are above us on the list. There are 1.3 billion poor people across the globe, 661 million of them in Asia and the Pacific. In fact, South Asia constitutes 41% of the world’s poor. As the world changes, so do the definition of poverty. The old world defined poverty as inaccessibility to health and education. But in the new world order, poverty will be defined based on the standard of education, technology, and climate.

Way Forward

Over the last two and a half decades, India has grown in leaps and bounds. But we did not progress with every citizen on board. It is time now to look beyond overall growth and concentrate on the pockets of citizens who were left behind. Whether it is certain areas or just minorities or women in general, the national policy must be guided to give them an opportunity to catch up with the rest of the country. New age problems include deteriorating air quality, scarcity of water, and other climate-related problems. India must find ways to deal with them before things take a turn for the worse. We have a huge population and an endless supply of brilliant minds. There is no reason that soon enough, India shouldn’t be at the top of the equality and development indices.

Question for UPSC Mains:
India is still far down the lists on the UN Human Development Report. Discuss where India stands and how it may race forward to the top.

Published: January 13, 2020 | Modified:January 13, 2020

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