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  • has climbed one notch to 130 out of 189 countries in the latest human development rankings released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). India climbed one spot from its 2016 position.


  • India’s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2017 is 0.640, which put the country in the medium human development category.
  • The overall trend globally is towards continued human development improvements. Between 1990 and 2017, India made a steady progress in improving its HDI value, which has increased from 0.427 to 0.640, an increase of nearly 50%.
  • Within South Asia, India’s HDI value is above the average of 0.638 for the region, with Bangladesh and Pakistan countries with similar population size being ranked 136 and 150, respectively.
  • Movements in the HDI are driven by changes in health, education and income levels.
  • The success of India’s national development schemes like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, ‘Swachh Bharat’, ‘Make in India’, and initiatives aimed at universalising school education and healthcare will be crucial in ensuring that the upward trend on human development accelerates
  • Between 1990 and 2017, India’s life expectancy at birth increased by nearly 11 years, with even more significant gains in expected years of schooling. According to the report, today Indian school-age children can expect to stay in school for 4.7 years longer than in 1990.
  • India’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita also increased by a staggering 266.6% between 1990 and 2017.
  • As much as 26.8% of India’s HDI value is lost on account of inequalities, a greater loss than for most of its South Asian neighbours as the average loss for the region is 26.1%.
  • This confirms that inequality remains a challenge for India as it progresses economically, though the Union and state governments have attempted to ensure that the gains of economic development are shared widely and reach the farthest first,” the UNDP report pointed out.
  • These challenges are also evident in India, where despite considerable progress at the policy and legislative levels, women remain significantly less politically, economically and socially empowered than men.

Human development index:

  • The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic (composite index) of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development.
  • A country scores higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the GDP per capita is higher. The HDI was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian economist Amartya Sen which was further used to measure the country’s development by the United Nations Development Program
  • Every year UNDP ranks countries based on the HDI report released in their annual report. HDI is one of the best tools to keep track of the level of development of a country, as it combines all major social and economic indicators that are responsible for economic development.
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