What is Human Development Index (HDI)?
The Human Development Index is an annual report released by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) based on standards of life expectancy, education, and income.
The HDI report was first released in 1990. Since then, this report is being published every year. The latest report was released on 9 December 2019.
What is India’s position in Fresh HDI?
There were a total of 189 countries in this index of which India is ranked 129. India has improved one point this time over last year.
India’s neighboring country Pakistan has improved by three points this year and Bangladesh has also improved in two digits by doing better than India.
Pakistan is at 152nd and Bangladesh 135th while neighboring Nepal is ranked 147th, Bhutan 134th, Myanmar 145th, and Sri Lanka 71st.
In how many categories are HDI classified?
Based on the ranking, all the countries involved are divided into 4 categories. The first category is “Extremely High Human Development” which includes a total of 62 countries.
This category includes Norway first, Switzerland second, Ireland third, Germany fourth, and Hong Kong among the top five countries.
The second category is “high human development” which includes countries ranked 63 to 116. The third category is related to “moderate human development”.
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It covers countries numbered 117 to 153. India is also included in this medium human development category. The last category is of “low human development” which includes all the remaining countries.
Which countries are lower ranked?
Most African countries are at the bottom rung. These include Niger, Central African Republic, Chad, South Sudan, Burundi, Mali, Eritrea, Burkino Faso, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Congo, Guinea-Bissau, and Yemen.
How was India’s performance in recent decades?
Between 1990 and 2018, India’s Human Development Index value has improved by 50 percent. It has increased from 0.431 to 0.647.
This is higher than the average of countries included in the category of moderate human development (0.634).
India’s Human Development Index value is also higher than the average value of South Asian countries (0.642).
In other words, there has been a satisfactory improvement in India’s position in terms of the human development index value.
What does this demonstration of India mean?
The improvement in HDI value means that life expectancy has improved by 11.6 years in the last three decades.
Average years of schooling have also improved by 3.5 years. Apart from this, per capita income has also increased by 250 times.
Overall, it can be said that in the last three decades significant progress has been made in life expectancy, years of schooling, and income parameters.
What does the report say about poverty in India?
The report says that 27.1 crore people in India have moved out of the poverty line in the decade 2005-06 to 2015-16.
Despite this, however, 28 percent of the world’s poor are living in India. This means that 36.4 crores of the poor are still living in India. The number of poor worldwide is 130 crores.
What does the report on group-based inequality say?
According to the report, despite the progress, group-based inequality in the Indian subcontinent continues to penetrate and this inequality is affecting women and girls. Singapore has the least domestic violence against women.
The report also states that 31 percent of women in South Asia are victims of domestic violence.
Where does India stand in the Gender Development Index?
India’s position in the Gender Development Index is slightly better than the average for South Asian countries.
India was ranked 122 in the Gender Inequality Index report released in 2018. A total of 162 countries were included in this.
Which new poverty does the report point to?
The report says that even though people in the world are rapidly getting out of poverty, they are moving towards a different type of poverty.
Earlier inequalities were based on access to health services and education, but the new poverty is related to technology, education, and climate.
The report states that there are both types of poverty in India. While a large number of people are deprived of health services and education in the country, many people are now falling victim to new types of poverty.
The report says that under such circumstances it will be difficult for India to achieve the goals of sustainable development.
UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner says that unequal distribution of property and power is the root cause of inequality, which is why people are taking to the streets. Until something is done, it will continue to happen.
The consumption report of the National Sample Survey Office was leaked to the media at the end of 2019.
This report indicates a decline in consumption in rural areas. Rural populations dependent directly or indirectly on agriculture have consumed less.
Consumption figures show that Indians living in rural areas are not able to earn enough to spend on their basic consumption needs. However, the government has rejected this report.
India’s poverty will remain in the news in the year 2020. It is not because the politicians are taking up this matter but because it will show its gruesome appearance in the national economy. This will make the economic growth rate fall.
In recent years, while the agricultural sector has been struggling with the apathy of the government on the one hand, on the other side, nature has also been hit by it.
Government policies have failed to give the farmers a fair price for their produce, while extreme weather events have caused large-scale damage to the produce.
At the level of the peasant family, it simply means zero growth of GDP. No economic activity can be expected without income.
Most of India’s poor depend on agriculture for their livelihood. A similar trend of decline is being observed for the last four years. This trend of declining consumption is now seen in the government survey.
In an economy in which the conditions of trade are not in favor of the farmers, there is a steady decline in income, hence poverty will increase further. In 2020, it may reach the tipping point, leaving millions of people trapped in debt and poverty.
The biggest impact of this decline will be seen in the national economy. Agriculture does not have a significant contribution to national GDP but it keeps the majority alive.
Therefore a significant part of the economic activities related to agriculture is affected by it, even if it does not create wealth.
Once this majority population reduces consumption, the pace of the national economy also stops.
This is the reason that consumption and rural poverty will hit the headlines in the year 2020. In such a situation, the question is, how will the government overcome this?
First, the government has to see how to increase consumption. In simple words, it will give people money to spend. Tax exemptions at the corporate and individual levels will lead to a partial increase in consumption.
Rural households have to consume more to have a positive impact on the development of the national economy.
To bring this to fruition, the government will have to spend a lot on infrastructure for generating employment along with welfare schemes.
But the government does not have enough money. Due to this, a situation of direct confrontation will arise in front of the government and it will have to set investment priorities. So, should the government give exemptions in corporate and personal tax?
This cannot happen right now because the government needs money to spend on rural areas.
The government is also facing the anger of middle and upper-class voters. In the slowdown of the economy, they too need money to maintain business and standard of living.
Undeniably, in the year 2020, the national debate will remain focused on the economy. We see that polarization between the poor and the rich is happening very fast in the event of a conflict.
This will bring the inequality which has been deeply rooted in the country to the discussion again.
There will be a competition for every additional rupee spent on rural areas. In response, favoring groups of villagers will make it an issue of equity.
It can be said from this perspective that 2020 will definitely be a year when poverty will again become an issue in India. This is good news for the new year.
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