India still low in human development index

GN Bureau | December 15, 2015




Due to rise in life expectancy and per capita income, India climbed five notches to the 130th rank but continued to rank low in the Human Development Index (HDI).

India ranked 130 among 188 countries in 2014 in Human Development Report 2015 released on Monday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The country's rank was 135 in the last report.

The HDI is an average measure of basic human development achievements in a country. It is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development -- a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.

Between 1980 and 2014, India's HDI value increased from 0.362 to 0.609, an increase of 68.1% or an average annual increase of about 1.54%," the report said.

Norway topped followed by Australia and Switzerland. As per the report, the HDI rank of Bangladesh and Pakistan was 142 and 147, respectively.

Among the BRICS nations, India was ranked lowest. Life expectancy at birth increased to 68 years in 2014 from 67.6 in the previous year and 53.9 in 1980.

Gross National Income (GNI) per capita was $5,497 in 2014 up from $5,180 in 2013 and $1,255 in 1980. India's GNI per capita increased by about 338% between 1980 and 2014.

However as per the report, the expected years of schooling is stagnant at 11.7 since 2011. Also, mean years of schooling at 5.4 has not changed since 2010.

Between 1980 and 2014, India's life expectancy at birth increased by 14.1 years, mean years of schooling increased by 3.5 years and expected years of schooling increased by 5.3 years.

The average loss due to inequality for medium HDI countries is 25.8% and for South Asia it is 28.7%. The Human inequality coefficient for India is equal to 27.7%.

On Gender Development Index (GDI), the report said the 2014 female HDI value for India is 0.525 in contrast with 0.660 for males, resulting in a GDI value of 0.795. In comparison, GDI values for Bangladesh and Pakistan are 0.917 and 0.726, respectively.

Talking about Gender Inequality Index (GII), it said India has a GII value of 0.563, ranking it 130 out of 155 countries in the 2014 index.

Address challenges and seize opportunities of the new world of work UNDP urges 2 billion people lifted out of low human development, in last 25 years, now focus on work is needed to galvanize progress, alerts the report.

Fast technological progress, deepening globalization, aging societies and environmental challenges are rapidly transforming what work means today and how it is performed. This new world of work presents great opportunities for some, but also profound challenges for others. The HDI report, released today at a ceremony in Ethiopia, urges governments to act now to ensure no one is left behind in the fast-changing world of work.

The report, titled ‘Work for Human Development’, calls for equitable and decent work for all. In doing so, it encourages governments to look beyond jobs to consider the many kinds of work, such as unpaid care, voluntary, or creative work that are important for human development. The report suggests that only by taking such a broad view can the benefits of work be truly harnessed for sustainable development.

The need for more inclusive and sustainable work opportunities was also emphasized by United Nations Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark who said: “Decent work contributes to both the richness of economies and the richness of human lives. All countries need to respond to the challenges in the new world of work and seize opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods.”

With better health and education outcomes and reductions in extreme poverty, 2 billion people have moved out of low human development levels in the last 25 years, the report says. Yet in order to secure these gains and galvanize progress, a stronger focus on decent work is needed.

 “Human progress will accelerate when everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so under decent circumstances. Yet in many countries, people are often excluded from paid work, or are paid less than others for doing work of the same value”, said report The report presents a detailed new estimate of the share of all work, not just paid work, between men and women. While women carry out 52 percent of all global work, glaring inequalities in the distribution of work remain.

Women are less likely to be paid for their work than men, with three out of every four hours of unpaid work carried out by women. In contrast, men account for two of every three hours of paid work. Since women often carry the burden of providing care services for family members, the report warns that this disparity is likely to increase as populations age.

When women are paid, they earn globally, on average, 24 percent less than men, and occupy less than a quarter of senior business positions worldwide.

“To reduce this inequality, societies need new policies, including better access to paid care services.

Ensuring equal pay, providing paid parental leave, and tackling the harassment and the social norms that exclude so many women from paid work are among the changes needed. That would enable the burden of unpaid care work to be shared more widely, and give women a genuine choice on whether to enter the labour force”, Helen Clark said.

It says globalization and technological changes are producing an increasingly polarized world of work. “There has never been a better time to be a highly skilled worker. Conversely, it is not a good time to be unskilled. This is deepening inequalities”, said report author Selim Jahan.

Highly skilled workers and those with access to technology, including to the internet, have new

opportunities in the types of work available and the way that work is done. Today, there are seven billion mobile phone subscriptions, 2.3 billion people with smart phones, and 3.2 billion with internet access. This has brought about many changes in the world of work - for example, the rise of e-commerce and the mass outsourcing of banking, ICT-support, and other services.

Despite new opportunities, however, more jobs are now becoming vulnerable and a wide digital divide remains, the report notes.

While policy responses to the new world of work will differ across countries, three main clusters of policies will be critical if governments and societies are to maximize the benefits and minimize the hardships in the evolving new world of work. Strategies are needed for creating work opportunities and ensuring workers’ well-being. The report therefore proposes a three-pronged action agenda:

A New Social Contract between governments, society, and the private sector, to ensure that all members of society, especially those working outside the formal sector, have their needs taken into account in policy formulation.

A Global Deal among governments to guarantee workers’ rights and benefits around the world.

A Decent Work Agenda, encompassing all workers, that will help promote freedom of association, equity, security, and human dignity in work life.

Full Report: click here

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