Human Development Report (HDR) 2023-24

GS Paper III

News Excerpt:

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report ‘Breaking the gridlock: Reimagining cooperation in a polarised world,India ranks 134 out of 193 countries on the global Human Development Index (HDI).

Key highlights of the report:

  • India:
    • With an HDI value of 0.644, the latest HDR places India in the medium human development category. 
    • Between 1990 and 2022, the country's HDI (Human Development Index) value increased by 48.4 per cent, from 0.434 in 1990 to 0.644 in 2022. 
    • India has also shown progress in reducing gender inequality, ranking 108th out of 166 countries in the GII (Gender Inequality Index) 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 reproductive health performance is better than that of 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 has one of the largest gender gaps in the labour force participation rate - a 47.8 percentage point difference between women (28.3%) and men (76.1%).
    • India’s southern neighbour Sri Lanka has been ranked much ahead at 78, while China is ranked 75, both categorised under the High Human Development category. 
    • India ranks below Bhutan, which is 125th, and Bangladesh, which is 129th. 
      • India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh are all in the Medium Human Development category.
      • Switzerland has been ranked number one.
      • Nepal (146) and Pakistan (164) have been ranked lower than India.
    • India’s life expectancy at birth has slightly improved from 67.2 years in 2021 to 67.7 years in 2022.
      • There is an overall increase (5.88%) in expected years of schooling (EYS) from 11.9 years to 12.6 years, leading to an improvement of 18 places when the EYS aspect was considered.
    • India’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita has improved from $6,542 to $6,951.
  • Global:
    • The report notes that inequality worldwide is rising again: after 20 years of convergence, the gap between the richest and poorest countries has started to widen from 2020. 
      • These global inequalities are compounded by substantial economic concentration. 
      • Almost 40% 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% of countries that year. 
    • India's loss in HDI due to inequality is 31.1%. 
      • 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 report proposes four areas for immediate action to break through the current deadlock and reignite a commitment to a shared future:

  • Planetary public goods for climate stability as we confront the unprecedented challenges of the Anthropocene.
  • Digital global public goods for greater equity in harnessing new technologies for equitable human development.
  • New and expanded financial mechanisms, including a novel track in international cooperation that complements humanitarian assistance and traditional development aid to low-income countries.
  • Dialling down political polarisation through new governance approaches focused on enhancing people's voices in deliberation and tackling misinformation.

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