Economic growth spurring India's human development

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 04, 2010 19:51 hrs

India is one of the fastest progressing countries in the world in terms of its exponential economic growth, according to the UNDP's 2010 Human Development Report (HDP).

Six of the nine South Asian countries analysed — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal and Pakistan — demonstrated noteworthy progress in human development. Nepal proved a surprise, as it scored third out of a total of 135 countries on the list of the world’s fastest movers in human development since 1970.

The report classifies India in the medium human development category, ranking it 119 out of 169 countries and areas. It scores above average amongst South Asian countries, but below average among other medium human development countries, such as China, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

At the launch of the report, Patrice Coeur Bizot, a UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator said, "There has been steady progress on the HDI over the past 20 years and India's HDI is above the average for countries in South Asia. Economic growth has been impressive, but inequality is on the rise. The report shows that there is a 30 per cent loss in HDI value when adjusted for inequality."

In fact, the report's new inequality adjusted HDI shows South Asia with a 33 per cent loss due to inequality in health, education and income, the second largest for a developing country after sub-Saharan Africa. India loses 30 per cent, with 41 per cent in education and 31 per cent in health.

The new multidimensional poverty index, which reveals the magnitude of poverty beyond monetary measures, identifies simultaneous deprivation in health, education and income in 104 countries. The findings of the index are that South Asia houses 50 per cent of the world’s multidimensionally poor; 844 million people. Narrowing this, the report points to the fact that eight Indian states are home to 421 million multidimensionally poor, more poor people than the 410 million in the 26 poorest African countries.

India’s HDI value this year was 0.519, compared to the average of 0.592 for medium development countries. It has increased steadily through the years, from 0.32 in 1980, 0.44 in 2000 and 0.482 in 2005. Between 1980 and 2010, India's life expectancy at birth increased by nearly nine years, mean years of schooling grew by close to three years and expected years of schooling increased by four years. India's gross national income per capita grew by 254 per cent during that time frame.

Bangladesh and Pakistan score similarly to India in the HDI rankings, at 129 and 125, respectively. Upon comparison, the report reveals that India scores higher in expected years of schooling — 10.3 years as compared to 8.1 for Bangladesh and 6.8 for Pakistan. Yet India has a lower life expectancy at birth than its neighbours, with Indians expected to live till 64.5 compared to 66.9 for Bangladeshis and 67.2 for Pakistanis.

In South Asia, life expectancy is estimated at 65 years, as compared to 49 years in 1970. The increases vary across the regions, with life expectancy of Bangladesh increasing by 23 years, Afghanistan by 10 years and India by 16 years.

More from Sify: