India has been developing steadily at around double the pace of most developed countries. As per the latest United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, India has gained a place in the Human Development Index (HDI) since last year, ranking 130 out of the 189 countries surveyed. While the life expectancy of Indians in 1990 was 57.9 years, that number has gone up to 68.8 years in 2018— an increase of 11 years. Other than living longer, the report states that Indians are more educated and have greater income today than 30 years ago.
The HDI is a statistical tool used to measure a country’s overall achievement in the standard of living, health and education levels of its citizens.
When compared to Bangladesh and Pakistan, India fares better overall, however, people in Bangladesh live longer than those in other countries. On average, women in India live longer than men and also study more than men in school. However, India still ranks 127th out of 160 countries when it comes to gender inequality, implying that the per capita income of women is far less than that of men.
Though “millions have been lifted out of poverty” according to the report, it also signals the presence of glaring inequality in the country. The value of India’s Inequality-adjusted HDI decreases by 26.8% which is far worse than the global average decrease in the global HDI value due to inequality at 20%.
Francine Pickup, Country Director, UNDP India told The Indian Express,
“India’s HDI has increased tremendously in the last two and half decades. However, we need to focus on inequality and the pockets of deprivation that are dragging the HDI down. Gender inequality is another big issue which adversely affects human development. This inequality is mainly due to the very low economic participation of women in India.”
When it comes to income inequality, India fares worse than Bangladesh, however, Pakistan is the worst of the three.