India Moves Up One Spot In Human Development Index, Says UNDP Report

Elias Hubbard
December 10, 2019

India climbed one spot to 129 among 189 countries in the 2019 human development index, according to a report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday.

The HDI measures average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development - life expectancy, education and per capita income.

The report indicated that "between 1990 and 2018, Ghana's life expectancy at birth increased by 7.0 years (from 56.8 years in 1990 to 63.8 years in 2018), mean years of schooling increased by 2.3 years (4.9 years to 7.2 years) and expected years of schooling increased by 3.9 years".

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.

Malaysia is scoring high in its Human Development Index (HDI) for 2018, with a score of 0.804 compared with 0.802 past year, putting the country in the Very High Human Development category, finishing at 61st place out of 189 countries. The UNDP report states that Ghana's HDI value between 1990 and 2018 "increased from 0.454 to 0.596, an increase of 31%".

Shoko Noda, UNDP's India resident representative, said in a statement that schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and Ayushman Bharat were "crucial in ensuring that we meet our promise to leave no one behind".

The 2019 HDR entitled "Beyond Income, Beyond Averages, Beyond Today: Inequalities in Human Development in the 21st Century" was released in Bogota, Colombia yesterday.

Only two other Asean countries are categorised in the same Human Development category as Malaysia, namely Singapore and Brunei. Per capita incomes rose by over 250 per cent, according to the report.

Pointing out social inequalities, the report said, "The Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes underperform the rest of society across human development indicators, including education attainment and access to digital technologies". Out of the 1.3 billion multi-dimensional poor, 661 million are in Asia and the Pacific, which shares nearly half of the multi-dimensional poor living in 101 countries of the world.

Despite India's significant progress in lifting 271 million people out of poverty from 2005-6 to 2015-16, it accounts for 28% of the 1.3 billion multidimensional poor across the globe.

According to the HDI 2019 report, Sri Lanka's average life expectancy at birth is 80.1 years for females and 73.4 years for males. While East Asia and the Pacific ranks second highest on the gender development index, Republic of Korea stood first in the region. With a score of 0.829, India is at the 122nd place out of 162 countries.

As the gap in basic standards is narrowing, with an unprecedented number of people escaping poverty, hunger and disease, the necessities to thrive have evolved, it said.

"India and the rest of South Asia may be vulnerable to a new set of inequalities emerging around higher education and climate resilience", the report stated.

Aside from the overall ranking, economies are also grouped into four "tiers" of development: "very high" (with an HDI of at least 0.800), "high" (0.700-0.799), "medium" (0.550-0.699), and "low" (below 0.550).

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