Skip to main content

India's Human Development Index loss due to inequality higher than most South Asian, BRICS countries

By Rajiv Shah
Fresh data released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), released this month, show that while India ranks 130 out of 189 countries in human development index (HDI), with HDI value of 0.640 on a scale of 1, this is “below the average of 0.645 for countries in the medium human development group”, even though it is “above the average of 0.638 for countries in South Asia.”
The briefing note on India for the UNDP’s “2018 Statistical Update” says, however, that when one adjusts inequality, things below South Asian average. Thus, while India’s overall HDI for 2017 is 0.640, “when the value is discounted for inequality, the HDI (which is called Inequality-adjusted HDI or IHDI) falls to 0.468, a loss of 26.8 percent due to inequality in the distribution of the HDI dimension indices.”
The note underlines, as against India’s 26.8 percent loss, the “average loss due to inequality for medium HDI countries is 25.1 percent and for South Asia it is 26.1 percent.”
According to the briefing note, HDI is counted as “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.”
A long and healthy life is “measured by life expectancy”, the note says, adding, “knowledge level is measured by mean years of education among the adult population, which is the average number of years of education received in a life-time by people aged 25 years and older…”
As for standard of living, it is “measured by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita expressed in constant 2011 international dollars converted using purchasing power parity (PPP) conversion rates.”
IHDI, which takes into account inequality in all three dimensions of the HDI by ‘discounting’ each dimension’s average value according to its level of inequality.
 
Says the note, “The IHDI is basically the HDI discounted for inequalities. The ‘loss’ in human development due to inequality is given by the difference between the HDI and the IHDI, and is “expressed as a percentage. As the inequality in a country increases, the loss in human development also increases.”
Thus, India’s HDI value for 2017, 0.640, UNDP data show, is, no doubt, better than other neighbouring countries, with the sole exception of Sri Lanka. Thus, ranking 76, Sri Lanka’s HDI value is 0.770; of Bangladesh, which ranks 136, it is 0.608; of Myanmar, which ranks 148, it is 0.578, of Nepal, which ranks 149, it is 0.574; and of Pakistan, which ranks 150, worst in South Asia, it is 0.562.
However, when it comes to inequality-adjusted HDI or IHDI, India’s loss (26.8 percent) is the next only to Pakistan. The lowest loss is that of Sri Lanka, 13.8 percent, followed by Myanmar 19.4 percent, Bangladesh 24.1 percent, Nepal 25.6 percent, and Pakistan, the highest, 31 percent. The result is that, the IHDI of at least two countries reaches very near to that of India (0.468) – Bangladesh 0.462 and Myanmar 0.466 -- while Sri Lanka’s IHDI remains very high, 0.644.
Coming to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, with whom India’s economy is generally compared, the HDI ranking is very higher than that of India. Thus, South Africa’s ranking is 113, of Brazil 79, of China 86, and of Russia 49. And if one calculates by taking into account inequality, the loss in IHDI is the highest in South Africa 33.2 percent, followed by India 26.8 percent, Brazil 23.9 percent, China 14.5 percent, and Russia just 9.5 percent.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”