India Shining? Income grows, development doesn’t, says UNDP report

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NEW DELHI - India ranks 119 among 169 countries on the human development index (HDI) but is among the top 10 nations in the world in terms of growth of income, the 2010 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report released Thursday shows.

HDI is a measure of development based on information such as life expectancy, schooling and income in a composite manner. Norway ranks first on the UNDP’s HDI while Zimbabwe is at the bottom.

India ranks 119 and is among the middle human development countries. There has been a steady progress on the HDI over the 20 years and India’s HDI is above average for countries in South Asia, Patrice Coeur-Bizot, UNDP resident representative said.

India has done well compared to all its neighbours, except Sri Lanka.

Pakistan ranks 125, Bangladesh ranks 129 and Nepal is at 138. Sri Lanka has a better HDI ranking at 91.

In terms of growth of income, India is among the top 10 countries. Among the other top income movers are China, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Botswana, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

The 20th anniversary edition of the UNDP report has introduced three new indices of measuring human development - inequality adjusted human development index, the gender inequality index and multi-dimensional poverty index.

Since human development in South Asia is unequally distributed, the region loses a third of its human development measurement when inequality is taken into account - against a 22 percent global average.

Economic growth in India has been impressive but inequality is on the rise. The report shows that there is a 30 percent loss in HDI value when adjusted for inequality, Coeur-Bizot said.

Therefore, the report concludes, economic growth is important, but it alone does not guarantee all-round human development.

On a positive note, the report said that most countries have shown progress on the HDI, despite recent setbacks of financial, food and fuel crises.

On this index, the developing countries in Asia have emerged as the front runners, recording the highest progress in human development since 1970. There is a 96 percent increase on the HDI for East Asia and 72 percent increase for South Asia while the world average is 41 percent, the report said.

The report, titled ‘Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development’, had a global launch and was released at New York by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

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