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India ranks 134th in human development index: UNDP

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Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada in top 10.

The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and the Resident representative and UN Resident coordinator, Mr Patrice Coeur-Bizot, at the launch of the Human Development Report 2009 in the Capital on Monday.
The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and the Resident representative and UN Resident coordinator, Mr Patrice Coeur-Bizot, at the launch of the Human Development Report 2009 in the Capital on Monday.

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Oct. 5 India ranks 134th out of 182 countries in the world, with the human development index (HDI) estimated at 0.612, based on 2007 data in terms of a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living to its citizens, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

In its 2009 Human Development Report released on Monday worldwide, the UN body contends that an earlier statistical update last year ranked India 132nd out of 179 countries with an HDI value of 0.609 which was based on 2006 data available then. It thus appears that India has dropped two slots in rank but gained 0.003 in value between last year’s report and this year’s.

The top 10 countries in the HDI 2007 include Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Japan.

The US was on 10th slot, down a point from 2006, while at the bottom of the index were Sierra Leone (180), Afghanistan (181) and Niger (182).

The report, however, claims that progress in basic human development indicators for India has been consistent over the past 27 years since the UN body computed this index for all the countries across the world.

Thus, during that period, life expectancy at birth rose by approximately 8 years, adult literacy increased by 25 percentage points and combined gross enrolment increased by 20 percentage points. GDP per capita (in constant 2007 purchasing power parity dollar ) also increased by 199 per cent from a level of $921 in 1980 to $2,753 in 2007.

It is no big solace that currently India’s 2007 HDI is the same as the average for South Asia but below the average of 0.686 for medium human development countries. India’s nearest “HDI neighbours” are Bhutan and Pakistan ranked at 132 and 141 respectively.

Poverty index

The Human Poverty Index (HPI-1), focusing on the proportion of people below certain threshold levels in each of the dimensions of the HDI, is estimated at 28 per cent for India, placing the country in the 88th slot among 135 countries for which the index has been calculated. It is also instructive to note that India’s gender-related development index (GDI) capturing the inequalities in achievement between women and men, at 0.594 should be compared to its HDI value of 0.612.

India’s GDI value is 97.1 per cent of its HDI value, though out of the 155 countries with both HDI and GDI values, 138 countries have “a better ratio than India’s”, the report said.

On migration, the main topic of this year’s report, India has an emigration rate of 0.8 per cent and its major continent of destination for migrants is Asia with 72 per cent of emigrants living there.

In 2007, of the total $370 billion remitted in 2007, India received $35.26 billion and its average remittances per person were $30, compared with the average for South Asia of $33.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 6, 2009)
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