Viewpoint: India and the HDI

16 DEC,2019 | MEDC


 

According to the latest report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), India’s ranking in the Human Development Index (HDI) improved marginally by a notch to 129 (out of 162 countries) in 2018. India has ranked 122 on the 2018 gender inequality index. This shows that group-based inequalities persist in India, especially affecting women. On the flip side, 271 million people were lifted out of poverty from 2005-06 to 2015-16. Over the years, India’s HDI rank has improved steadily due to reduction in absolute poverty. There have also been gains in life expectancy, education, and access to health care. However, beyond these gains in basic standards and capabilities, the picture becomes more complex. India is only marginally better than the South Asian average on the gender development index (0.829 vs. 0.828). Thanks to sound policymaking, an unprecedented number of Indians are escaping destitution, hunger and disease. Aspirations in the population are rising. However, inequality shows no signs of ebbing, and that is something that needs to be at the top of the policymakers’ agenda. The problems remain age-old, but the solutions have to change with the times. It isn’t rocket science, and staying at the bottom of the HDI heap is a luxury we cannot afford much longer. No amount of fiddling with interest rates, inflation targets, and subsidies will help in this regard.

*Photo Credit: Google

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