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India suffers loss of 28.6 percent in Human Development Index due to socio-economic inequalities: UN report

By Our Representative
The latest Human Development Report 2015 suggests that though India’s Human Development Index (HDI) for 2014 is 0.609 on a scale of 1000, below the average of 0.630 for countries in the medium human development group,  above the average of 0.607 for countries in South Asia, its international ranking of 130th of 188 countries would have been much better if the country had fought socio-economic inequalities.
The report, prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), says, “When the value is discounted for inequality, the HDI falls to 0.435, a loss of 28.6 percent due to inequality in the distribution of the HDI dimension indices.”
The report states, “Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI) as looking beyond the average achievements of a country in health, education and income to show how these achievements are distributed among its residents.” It adds, “The relative difference between the IHDI and HDI is the loss due to inequality in distribution of the HDI within the country.”
According to the report, while neighouring countries Bangladesh and Pakistan show “losses” due to inequality of 29.4 percent and 29.9 percent respectively, which is higher than India, among those identified as “medium HDI countries”, the average loss due to inequality for medium HDI countries is 25.8 percent.
Interestingly, Sri Lanka, which ranks quite high in HDI (No 73) compared to all of India’s neighbours, showed a loss of just about 11.6 percent because of inequality.
By way of comparison, the report shows that the country with the best HDI in the world, Norway, with HDI of 0.944, saw one of the lowest losses, too, of 5.4 percent. The US, ranking No eighth in HDI, showed a loss of 17 percent, United Kingdom 8.6 percent, and Japan 12.7 percent.
Among the BRICS countries, which whom India compares itself, Brazil, with HDI ranking of No 75th, registered a loss of 26.3 per cent, Russia, with HDI ranking 50th, registered a loss of 7.1 percent; and South Africa, with a ranking of 116th, registered a loss of 35.7 percent. Interestingly, while China ranks 90th in HDI, no data has been provided for the loss due to inequality.
Like HDI, in Gender Inequality Index (GII), too, India, with a value of 0.563, ranked 130th in 2014. This is because, the report says, “In India, 27.0 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 56.6 percent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 livebirths, 190 women die from pregnancy related causes; and the adolescent birth rate is 32.8 births per 1,000 women of ages 15-19. Female participation in the labour market is 27.0 percent compared to 79.9 for men.”
Giving examples of gender-based inequality, the report states, 42 percent of women worldwide did not have a bank account in 2014, and the proportion being even higher in developing countries (50 per- cent), though “in 38 countries, including India, Mexico, Pakistan and Uganda, more than 80 percent of women are unbanked.” By contrast, it adds, “in Japan and the Republic of Korea more than 90 percent of women have bank accounts.”
Similarly, one finds “unequal access to and use of technology”, the report states, pointing out that “only 39 percent of women in India were Internet users, compared with 61 percent of men.” By comparison, in China the percentage of women used Internet was 44 percent, and in Turkey 44 percent.

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