New Delhi: India ranked 132 out of 191 countries in the 2021 human development index, according to a report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In the last index, India had dropped two ranks, standing at 131 out of 189 nations. “Like global trends, in India’s case, the drop in HDI from 0.645 in 2019 to 0.633 in 2021 can be attributed to falling life expectancy – 69.7 to 67.2 years. India’s expected years of schooling stand at 11.9 years, and the mean years of schooling are at 6.7 years,” the report said.
Although 90 percent of countries have reported a reduction in their Human Development Index (HDI) value in 2020 or 2021, progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals is counterproductive.
Human development (a measure of a nation’s health, education and median income) has declined for two consecutive years (2020 and 2021), outpacing progress over the past five years. This is in line with the global decline, which shows that human development worldwide recorded the first sharp decline in 32 years, the report said.
According to the report, a major contributor to the recent decline of the Human Development Index has been the global decline in life expectancy, which has come down from 72.8 years in 2019 to 71.4 years in 2021. The Coronavirus pandemic and the Russo-Ukraine war have had a devastating impact on billions of people around the world in the past two years. Widespread social and economic changes were seen during the Corona pandemic. At the same time, the Russo-Ukraine war has brought the world to a dangerous juncture.
“The world is scrambling to respond to back-to-back crises. We have seen with the cost of living and energy crises that, while it is tempting to focus on quick fixes like subsidizing fossil fuels, immediate relief tactics are delaying the long-term systemic changes we must make,” said Achim Steiner, administrator, UNDP.
“We are collectively paralyzed in making these changes. In a world defined by uncertainty, we need a renewed sense of global solidarity to tackle our interconnected, common challenges,” Steiner said.
According to the UNDP report, these intersecting crises have affected India’s growth trajectory in the same way as it has in most parts of the world. India’s HDI value of 0.633 places the country in the medium human development category, which is lower than its value of 0.645 in the 2020 report.
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The HDI measures progress on 3 key dimensions of human development – a long and healthy life, access to education and a decent standard of living. It is calculated using 4 indicators, which include life expectancy at birth, average years of schooling, expected years of schooling and gross national income per capita.
“The Human Development Report shows that progress globally is in reverse. India’s decline in human development mirrors this trend – impacted by intersecting crises. But there is good news. Compared to 2019, the impact of inequality on human development is lower,” said Shoko Noda, UNDP Resident Representative in India.
“India is bridging the human development gap between men and women faster than the world. This development has come at a smaller cost to the environment. India’s growth story reflects the country’s investments in inclusive growth, social protection, gender-responsive policies, and push towards renewables to ensure no one is left behind,” said Noda.
Like the global trends, in the case of India too, the Human Development Index declined from 0.645 in 2019 to 0.633 in 2021. This can be attributed to the reduction in life expectancy from 69.7 to 67.2 years. The expected years of schooling in India is 11.9 years and the average years of schooling is 6.7 years. The gross national per capita level is $6,590.
(With PTI Inputs)