India has slipped to rank 131in the 2016 Human Development Report (HDR) that was released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 21 March 2017.
Among the 188 countries ranked in terms of human development, India stood at 131, a rank below its previous 130. India’s human development index (HDI) value of 0.624 puts it in the “medium human development” category alongside Pakistan and other countries such as Congo and Namibia.
Only two SAARC nations rank above India in the list, Sri Lanka (73) and Maldives (105), both of which figure in the high human development category.
• The top three countries in the list include Norway at rank 1 with an HDI of 0.949, followed by Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939).
• Norway, which was recently adjudged to be the happiest nation in the world going by the World happiness report, clinched the top spot in this report as well.
• The HDI value is a measure for assessing the progress in the three basic dimensions of human development, a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and the access to a decent standard of living.
• According to the HDR, 1.5 million people across the world still live in multidimensional poverty and almost 54% among them are concentrated in South Asia.
• The report revealed that while there was a significant drop in poverty from 1990 to 2015, there has been a rise in inequalities in the region.
• Though women were noted to have lower HDI than men all across the world, South Asia was reported to have the largest gender disparity with female HDI value 20% lower than the male HDI value.
• South Asia also has been reported to have the highest levels of malnutrition in the world and the lowest public health expenditure as a percentage of the GDP (1.6% of GDP in 2014).
• India’s public health expenditure was reported to be even lower, at 1.4 % of the GDP.
• However, life expectancy in the country has improved by 10.4 years between 1990 and 2015 and child malnutrition has also declined by 10 percentage points.
• The study also revealed that there has been a slight decline in infant and under-five mortality rates.
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Besides this, the report praised India’s reservation policy saying that it had substantial positive effects despite the fact that it had not resolved the caste-based exclusions. It also called the national rural employment guarantee programme of India a prime example of combining social protection with appropriate employment strategies.