BY | March 16, 2013

NVO News Service

New Delhi: The new United Nations Development Programme 2013 report released on March 14, ranks India and Equatorial Guinea 136th out of 186 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI).

While Norway, Australia and the United States ranked the top three countries of the world some oil-rich Middle East countries like Qatar (35), UAE (41), Bahrain (47) and Kuwait (53) are surprisingly ranked relatively high. Saudi Arabia and Iran ranked 57 and 75 respectively and war-torn Iraq 131, that is better than India. However, India is better than neighbouring Pakisan and Bangaldesh––both of them are ranked 146th , and Nepal 156th. But Sri Lanka is ranked much ahead––92nd.

But when it comes to Gender Inequality Index (GII) India is worse than all the countries of South Asia, except Afghanistan, which has been torn by war for well over three decades.

Even Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, which are poorer than India and have lower HDIs, have done comparatively better than India on GII.

The HDI is a composite indicator composed of three equally weighted measures for education, health and income.

On the newly constituted Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which identifies multiple deprivations in the same households in education, health and standard of living, only 29 countries do worse than India.

The MPI puts India’s poverty headcount ratio at 54 per cent, higher than Bangladesh and Nepal. Ironically this was even as India did extremely well economically. India and China doubled output per capita in less than 20 years, at a scale the UNDP has said was “unprecedented in speed and scale”.

According to report “Never in history have the living conditions and prospects of so many people changed so dramatically and so fast.”

It took Britain 150 years to do the same after the Industrial Revolution and the United States, which industrialized later, took 50 years.

On the whole, developing countries of the Global South have been steadily improving their human development records, some faster than others. It made special reference to Turkey, Indonesia and several other countries.

By 2030, more than 80 per cent of the world’s middle class is projected to be in the global South; within Asia, India and China will make up 75% of the middle class.

No country has done worse in 2012 than in 2000, while the same was not true for the preceding decade. India, Bangladesh and China are among 40 countries that have done better on the HDI than was predicted for them in 1990.

The HDR identifies three drivers of human development transformation in the countries of the global South – proactive developmental states, tapping of global markets and determined social policy innovation.+

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