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Topic 5 - Human Development Index and India

Question - Who publishes HDI ? 
Answer - United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

In 1990s Human Development has emerged as an important concept of development. Human Development means enlargement of human capabilities to enjoy all types of freedom – economic, political, social and cultural.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), an agency of UNO, has constructed various indicators of human development such as Human Development Index (HD1), Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) and Human Poverty Index (HPI). The most important and most popular of these is HDI.

HDI is basically a composite index of three attainments of development: health, education and standard of living.

Computing the HDI:

To construct the Index, fixed minimum and maximum values have been established for each of the indicators:
i. Life expectancy at birth: 25 years and 85 years;
ii. General literacy rate: 0 per cent and 100 per cent;
iii. Real GDP per capita (PPP$); PPP$ 100 and PPP$ 40,000.

Individual Indices are computed first on the basis of a given formula. HDI is a simple average of these three indices and is derived by dividing the sum of these three indices by 3.

With normalization of the values of the variables that make up the HDI, its value ranges from 0 to 1. The HDI value for a country or a region shows the distance that it has to travel to reach the maximum possible value of 1 and also allows inter-country comparisons.

(i) High human development countries (HDI value between 1 – 0.8)
(ii) Medium human development countries (HDI value between 0.79 – 0.5)
(iii) Low human development countries (HDI value between 0.49 – 0)

HDI of India

As compared to the pre-independence days India has done well in development in general. As per Human Development Reports (HDRs) published annually by the UNDP, India has consistently improved on human development front and is grouped among the countries with ‘medium human development’.

According to Human Development Report 2013, India ranked 135 out of 187 countries . Even though India did not improve her rank drastically, the report applauds its state policies for promoting political, social and religious aspects.

Among South Asian countries, India ranks third after Sri Lanka (73) and Maldives (103) . Pakistan Nepal and Bangladesh are worse than India. Their ranks are 146,145 and 142 respectively . Globally, Norway, Iceland and Australia are the top three performers when it comes to giving their citizens good quality of life. Congo and Niger have worst human development indices.

Earlier India was among low human development countries but now it has made a place in medium human development countries.

Major Components of HDI report- 

1. Gender Inequality Index 

Formula = Female HDI/ Male HDI

  • The Gender Inequality Index (GII) is an index for measurement of gender disparity that was introduced in the 2010 Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 
  • This index is a composite measure which captures the loss of achievement within a country due to gender inequality. 
  • It uses three dimensions to do so: reproductive health, empowerment, and labor market participation.
Only calculated for 148 countries and not for all those 187 ranked in HDI.

How India fared –

2. Gender-related Development Index

The Gender-related Development Index (GDI) is an index designed to measure of gender equality.

  • GDI together with the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) were introduced in 1995.
  • The GDI is often considered a “gender-sensitive extension of the HDI” (Klasen 245). 
  • It addresses gender-gaps in life expectancy, education, and incomes. 
  • It uses an “inequality aversion” penalty, which creates a development score penalty for gender gaps in any of the categories of the Human Development Index which include life expectancy, adult literacy, school enrollment, and logarithmic transformations of per-capita income. 
  • In terms of life expectancy, the GDI assumes that women will live an average of five years longer than men. Additionally, in terms of income, the GDI considers income-gaps in terms of actual earned income.

India’s ranking –

3. Multidimensional Poverty Index

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) was developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme and uses different factors to determine poverty beyond income-based lists. It replaced the previous Human Poverty Index.

The MPI is an index of acute multidimensional poverty. It shows the number of people who are multidimensionally poor (suffering deprivations in 33.33% of weighted indicators) and the number of deprivations with which poor households typically contend.
Calculation of the index

The MPI is calculated as follows


H: Percentage of people who are MPI poor (incidence of poverty)
A: Average intensity of MPI poverty across the poor (%)


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