Women especially continue to have a lower HDI than men, primarily because of fewer opportunities in education and at work, said Pickup.
India was placed at 130 among 189 countries in the latest human development index (HDI) report released by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Friday, PTI reported. India’s HDI value for 2017 was marked at 0.640, which was still higher than the South Asian average of 0.638.
India climbed one spot from its 2016 position and was ranked ahead of its South Asian contemporaries Pakistan and Bangladesh, which were ranked 150 and in 136 respectively.
The HDI is measured in three basic dimensions of human development for assessing long-term progress: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.
Between 1990 to 2017, India’s HDI value saw a 50 per cent increase from 0.427 to 0.640, an indicator of the country’s remarkable achievement in lifting millions of people out of poverty, the report said.
During the period, India’s life expectancy at birth increased by nearly 11 years, with the average years of children staying in school increased by 4.7 years. India’s gross per capita income increased by a staggering 266.6 per cent between 1990 and 2017.
On the global front, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany led the ranking, while Niger, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad and Burundi have the lowest scores in the HDI’s measurement of national achievements in health, education and income.
The report stated that out of the 189 countries for which the HDI is calculated, 59 countries are today in the very high human development group and only 38 countries fall in the low HDI group, it said.
The report also states that about 26.8 per cent of India’s HDI value is lost on account of inequalities. The report explained that inequality still remains a challenge for India despite its economic progress, though the government and various state governments have, through a variety of social protection measures, attempted to ensure that the gains of economic development are shared widely and reach the farthest first.
In India, despite considerable progress at the policy and legislative levels, women remain significantly less politically, economically and socially empowered than men.
“For instance, women hold only 11.6 per cent of parliamentary seats, and only 39 per cent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education as compared to 64 per cent males,” the report said.
Female participation in the labour market is 27.2 per cent compared to 78.8 for men, it said.
“Still, India performs better than its neighbours Bangladesh and Pakistan, ranking 127 out 160 countries on the Gender Inequality Index,” the UNDP said.
(With PTI inputs)