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India ranked worse than China, Pakistan, B'desh, Sri Lanka in inclusive index as Modi reaches Davos to address WEF

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addresses the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday, India ranks worse than all its neighbours in the new Inclusive Development Index (IDI) which it has released on the day WEF summit began in the Swiss city, January 22. Ranking 62nd out of 74 emerging economies, India's ranking is worse than not just China but also Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
While Pakistan ranks 47th, Sri Lanka 40th, Nepal 22nd, and China 26th, the five countries that are found to rank better than India include Rwanda, Laos, Uganda, Mali and Senegal. The only country ranking worse than India among the the "competing" BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) economies is South Africa (69th).
Ironically, in per capita GDP ranking, India ranks better (51st) than Pakistan (59th), Nepal (71st) and Bangladesh (64th), though worse than China (22nd) and Sri Lanka 39th). Comments the report, titled "The Inclusive Development Index 2018", "GDP growth is best understood as a top-line measure of national economic performance, in the sense that it is a means(albeit a crucially important one) to the bottom-line societal measure of success: broad-based progress in living standards."
However, it undrrlines, "As many countries have experienced and the Inclusive Development Index data illustrate, growth is a necessary but not sufficient condition for robustly rising median living standards. Accordingly, policymakers and citizens alike would benefit from having an alternative, or at least complementary, bottom-line metric that measures the level and rate of improvement in shared socioeconomic progress."
According to WEF, "Slow progress in living standards and widening inequality have contributed to political polarization and erosion of social cohesion in many advanced and emerging economies.
This has led to the emergence of a worldwide consensus on the need for a more inclusive and sustainable model of growth and development that promotes high living standards for all."
Suggesting that the gap between GDP growth and inclusive development is best understood if one looks at the BRICS countries, the WEF report says, "Performance is mixed among BRICS economies: the Russian Federation (19) is ahead of China (26), Brazil (37), India (62), and South Africa (69)."
Agreeing that has India has "an improving trend", the report says, the country ranks 62nd out of 74 emerging economies and it performs well (44th) in terms of "Intergenerational Equity and Sustainability, profiting from a low dependency ratio that is set to further decline as the economy reaps the dividends of an extremely young population (28% of the Indian population was younger than 14 years in 2017)."
However, it notes, "Though the incidence of poverty has declined in India over the past five years, 6 out of 10 Indians still live on less than $3.20 per day. Given the prevalence of inequality both in terms of both income and wealth, there is substantial scope for improvement for India in this aspect." While India's poverty rate is 60.4% compared to China's 12.4%, a related concern is low employment level (51.9% compared to China's 67.5%).
At the same time, report says, "Both labor productivity and GDP per capita posted strong growth rates over the past five years, while employment growth has slowed. Healthy life expectancy also increased by approximately three years to 59.6..." It adds, "Brazil, China, and India, though these are mainly driven by strong human capital investment, while reporting high levels of resource depletion."
Ranking advanced economies separately, the report says, "Norway is the best performing advanced economy in 2018, with a consistently strong performance: it ranks second on one of the Index’s three pillars (Intergenerational Equity and Sustainability) and third on each of the other two (Growth and Development, and Inclusion). Small European economies dominate the Index, with Australia (9) the only non-European economy in the top 10."
It adds, Of the G7 economies, Germany (12) is ranked highest, followed by Canada (17), France (18), United Kingdom (21), United States (23), Japan (24), and Italy (27). In many countries, there is a stark difference between individual pillars: for example, the US ranks 10th out of the 29 advanced economies on Growth and Development, but 26th on Intergenerational Equity and Sustainability and 28th on Inclusion; France, meanwhile, ranks 12th on Inclusion, 21st on Growth and Development, and 24th on Intergenerational Equity and Sustainability."

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