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UN Lauds India’s Remarkable Progress in HDI

by Web Desk

The country has made commendable strides in Human Development Index

India has made significant strides in the Human Development Index (HDI), with the
country’s value increasing to 0.644 in 2022. This places India 134th out of 193 countries
and territories, according to the latest Human Development Report (HDR) report. India’s
progress was highlighted in the HDR report titled, “Breaking the Gridlock: Reimagining
Cooperation in a Polarized World” after a drop in its HDI value in 2021 that followed a
flat trend over the past few years. The latest report showcases the 2021–2022 HDR
findings that saw the global HDI value fall for the first time and for two years in a row.

In 2022, India saw improvements across all HDI indicators across life expectancy,
education, and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita. Life expectancy rose from 67.2
to 67.7 years, expected years of schooling reached 12.6, mean years of schooling
increased to 6.57, and GNI per capita saw an increase from $6,542 to $6,951. At the
same time, India demonstrated progress in reducing gender inequality. India’s GII value
of 0.437 is better than the global and South Asian averages.
“India has shown remarkable progress in human development over the years. Since
1990, life expectancy at birth has risen by 9.1 years; expected years of schooling have
increased by 4.6 years, and mean years of schooling have grown by 3.8 years. India’s
GNI per capita has grown by approximately 287 percent. This highlights the country’s
commitment over time to not only accelerating economic growth but also improving the
quality of life for all its citizens. But there is room for improvement. With a renewed
focus on women-led development, and digital public goods for people and planet, I am
confident India can further unlock socio-economic progress, paving the way for a
brighter and more equitable future for all,” said Caitlin Wiesen, Resident Representative
ai UNDP India.
The report notes the global overall Human Development Index (HDI) value is greater
than it was in 2019. But it doesn’t mean the world has recovered fully from the effects of
the COVID-19 pandemic that led to other global crises. The report indicates that while
wealthy countries are showing signs of robust recovery, the poorest are struggling. This
‘partial, incomplete and unequal’ recovery is leaving the poorest behind. The result is a
dangerous gridlock that needs to be tackled urgently through collective action. The
Asia-Pacific emerges as a standout region for human development progress despite all
this, with India demonstrating considerable improvement in its HDI value since 1990.
India now in medium human development category
With an HDI value of 0.644, the latest HDR places India in the medium human
development category. Between 1990 and 2022, the nation saw its HDI value increase
by 48.4 percent, from 0.434 in 1990 to 0.644 in 2022. India has also shown progress in
reducing gender inequality and ranks 108 out of 166 countries in the GII 2022. The GII

measures gender inequalities in three key dimensions – reproductive health,
empowerment, and labour market.
The country’s GII value of 0.437 is better than the global average of 0.462 and the
South Asian average of 0.478*. India’s performance in reproductive health is better than
other countries in the medium human development group or South Asia. India’s
adolescent birth rate in 2022 was 16.3 (births per 1,000 women ages 15-19), an
improvement from 17.1 in 2021. India, however, has one of the largest gender gaps in
the labour force participation rate with a 47.8 percentage points difference between
women (28.3%) and men (76.1%).
The report observes that inequality across the world is rising again. After 20 years of
convergence, the gap between the richest and poorest countries has once again started
to widen from 2020. These global inequalities are aggravated by substantial economic
concentration. A whopping 40 percent approx. of global trade in goods is concentrated
in three or fewer countries. In 2021, the market capitalisation of each of the three largest
tech companies surpassed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than 90 percent
of countries that year.
South Asia’s loss in the HDI due to inequality is among the highest in the world (after
sub-Saharan Africa) followed by the Pacific. “The widening human development gap
revealed by the report shows that the two-decade trend of steadily reducing inequalities
between wealthy and poor nations is now in reverse. Despite our deeply interconnected
global societies, we are falling short. We must leverage our interdependence as well as
our capacities to address our shared and existential challenges and ensure people’s
aspirations are met,” said Achim Steiner, Administrator, UN Development Programme.

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