India Ranks 130 in UNDP’s Human Development Index

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India climbed up a spot to rank 130 out of 189 countries in the latest human development rankings released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). However, inequality and gender gap remain a major cause for concern. India’s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2017 is 0.640, which puts the country in the medium human development category.

Between 1990 and 2017, India’s HDI value rose from 0.427 to 0.640, an increase of nearly 50%, indicating rapid progress in poverty eradication. During the period, India’s life expectancy at birth increased by nearly 11 years, with the average years of children staying in school increased by 4.7 years. India’s gross per capita income increased by a staggering 266.6%.

For a country that has made such remarkable progress, pockets of deprivation continue to prevent millions of people from fulfilling their true potential. Women especially continue to have a lower HDI than men, primarily because of fewer opportunities in education and at work. HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.

However, despite the strides made overall, inequality manifests in the “massive differences across the world in people’s well-being” with a child born in a low HDI country expected to live just over 60 years as compared to a very high HDI country where a child could live up to 80 years. Likewise, children in low HDI countries are expected to be in school seven years fewer than children in very high HDI countries.

Globally, the average HDI for women is 6% lower than for men, due to women’s lower income and educational attainment in many countries. India ranks 127 out of 160 countries on the Gender Inequality Index which reflects gender-based inequalities in reproductive health, empowerment (political and educational), and economic activity.

The report highlighted that challenges are also evident in India, where women remain significantly less politically, economically and socially empowered than men. “Women hold only 11.6% of parliamentary seats and only 39% of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education as compared to 64% males. Female participation in the labour market is 27.2 % compared to 78.8% for men.