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Mains Test Series

Human Development

Q. Critically examine India’s poor performance in human development indicators despite high economic growth.


Introduction- Human development is defined as expanding people’s freedom and opportunities and improving their well-being. It can be measured in terms of life expectancy, education, and per capita income. Human development indices (HDI) are part of the Human Development Report published annually by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), which is a good measure of Human Development.

India has adopted a decentralised and integrated human development concept as a developmental agenda at the national, state, district and municipality levels.

India’s poor performance in Human development indicators:

  • Poor rank in HDI: India ranks 132 out of 191 countries, behind Bangladesh (129) and Sri Lanka (73), as per the Human Development Report of 2021-22.
  • Vast income inequalities – There is a considerable difference in per capita income across the country. Higher inequalities lead to low HDI growth.
  • Gender inequalitiesFemale per capita income is lower than in developed or developing countries. Women’s labour force participation rate (LFPR) is 8.8%.
  • Regional disparity Addressing the sub-national or state-wise inequalities in human development is critical. Marginal groups lag in education, particularly the PVTGs, aspirational districts, etc.
  • India has a lower average life expectancy.
  • The Loophole in policy policy priorities have changed frequently or are not being implemented well.

However, this idea is not the complete reality.

  1. India has shown incredible improvement: India has achieved
    • high gross enrollment ratio nearing 100%,
    • increase in literacy rate,
    • affordable healthcare system and
    • reached the fifth largest economy in terms of GDP as compared to the last decade.
  2. Problems with HDI:
    • HDI cannot used to analyse the effectiveness of national policy by comparison of national development and gross national income across countries.
    • HDI can consider only health, education, and income dimensions of development and ignore essential factors such as gender equality, sustainability, etc.
    • HDI fails to calculate in vast regional diversity countries like India, e.g., education enrollment in the north-east of India, J&K and Andaman & Nicobar Island.
  3. Improvement according to Multidimensional poverty index (MPI) MPI measures the micro level of incidence of poverty. According to the present data, India has pulled 415 million people out of Multidimensional poverty in the last 15 years.

Thus, it is clear that India has shown a remarkable improvement in Human development indicators. This is due to a host of initiatives taken by the government. Government initiative to raise the HDI rank

  • PM POSHAN The scheme aims to improve the nutritional status of pregnant women, adolescent girls, lactating mothers, and children under six.
  • Ayushman Bharat – affordable health care system to attain high HDI value.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission
  • Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan – aims at universalisation of elementary education.
  • National Education Policy aims to make education more inclusive, equitable and holistic.
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan, Start-up India, Stand-up India, etc.
  • PVTGs MISSION The Mission envisages taking basic development to PVTGs, including health, education and infrastructure.

Nevertheless, more can be done to improve India’s standing in the HDI.

Way forward

  • Good governance – Need to ensure access and quality through effective implementation of the scheme through innovative methods like outcome budgeting, social auditing and participation of people
  • There is a need to reform the rigid labour market governed by obsolete law. Address child labour and forced labour and bring wage equality. Policy for rapid expansion of productivity employment opportunities.
  • Public policies for environmental protection.
  • Focus on 3Is investments- in infrastructure such as renewable energy and

                                                 Health sector and education sector.

                        Insurance – social protection for vulnerable sections of society                         Innovation-building capacities to respond to the challenges.

  • Formulate the Policies for asset distribution.  

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