India climbed one spot to 130 out of 189 countries in the latest human development rankings released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). India’s HDI value between 1990 and 2017 increased from 0.427 to 0.640, an increase of nearly 50 percent which put the country in the medium human development category.
Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany lead the ranking, while Niger, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad and Burundi have the lowest scores in the HDI’s measurement of national achievements in health, education and income. Within South Asia, India’s HDI value is above the average of 0.638 for the region, with Bangladesh and Pakistan, countries with similar population size, being ranked 136 and 150 respectively, the UNDP said.
The overall trend globally is toward continued human development improvements, with many countries moving up through the human development categories: out of the 189 countries for which the HDI is calculated, 59 countries are today in the very high human development group and only 38 countries fall in the low HDI group. Just eight years ago in 2010, the figures were 46 and 49 countries respectively.
Movements in the HDI are driven by changes in health, education and income. Health has improved considerably as shown by life expectancy at birth, which has increased by almost seven years globally, with Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia showing the greatest progress, each experiencing increases of about 11 years since 1990. And, today’s school-age children can expect to be in school for 3.4 years longer than those in 1990.
Between 1990 and 2017, India’s life expectancy at birth too increased by nearly 11 years, with even more significant gains in expected years of schooling. Today’s Indian school-age children can expect to stay in school for 4.7 years longer than in 1990. Whereas, India’s GNI per capita increased by a staggering 266.6 percent between 1990 and 2017.
A child born today in Norway, the country with the highest HDI, can expect to live beyond 82 years old and spend almost 18 years in school. While a child born in Niger, the country with the lowest HDI, can expect only to live to 60 and spend just five years in school. Such striking differences can be seen again and again, the UNDP said.
n average, a child born today in a country with low human development can expect to live just over 60 years, while a child born in a country with very high human development can expect to live to almost 80. Similarly, children in low human development countries can expect to be in school seven years less than children in very high human development countries,” said Achim Steiner UNDP Administrator. “While these statistics present a stark picture in themselves, they also speak to the tragedy of millions of individuals whose lives are affected by inequity and lost opportunities, neither of which are inevitable.”
26.8 percent of India’s HDI value is lost on account of inequalities — a greater loss than for most of its South Asian neighbours (the average loss for the region is 26.1 percent). This confirms that inequality remains a challenge for India as it progresses economically, though the Government of India and various state governments have, through a variety of social protection measures, attempted to ensure that the gains of economic development are shared widely and reach the farthest first.
The Human Development Index (HDI) was introduced in the first Human Development Report in 1990 as a composite measurement of development that challenged purely economic assessments of national progress. The HDI covers 189 countries and territories. Marshall Islands is a new addition. The HDI could not be calculated for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Monaco, Nauru, San Marino, Somalia and Tuvalu. HDI values and rankings as presented in Table 1 of the Statistical Update are calculated using the latest internationally comparable data for health, education and income. Previous HDI values and rankings are retroactively recalculated using the same updated data sets and current methodologies, as presented in Table 2 of the Statistical Update. The HDI rankings and values in the 2018 Statistical Update cannot therefore be compared directly to HDI rankings and values published in previous Human Development Reports.
Human Development Indices and Indicators: 2018 Statistical Update