The solution to India’s stunted improvement on the Human Development Index: Improving access to quality education

Source: The post is based on an article The solution to India’s stunted improvement on the Human Development Index: Improving access to quality education” published in The Indian Express on 14th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to education

News:  United Nation Development Program (UNDP) has released the Human Development Index (HDI) report for 2022.

HDI report involves four indicators with three dimensions — per capita income, health (life expectancy) and education (average and expected years of schooling).

What are the findings of Human Development Index at the global level?

The annual rate of progress in HDI which had gone up from 0.7 per cent in the Nineties to 0.8 in the next decade has now declined to half that level during 2010-21.

Higher achievements were recorded by medium and low HDI countries.

The worst affected are Latin America and Caribbean regions whose growth has slumped to 0.3 per cent during 2010-21.

Why are the concerns for India associated with findings of the reports?

The performance of India has declined in various categories in comparison to other developing countries for the last decade. The global HDI rank of India has slipped from 129 in 2019 to 131 in 2020 and to 132 in 2021-22.

India’s performance in all three dimension of HDI 2021-22 is lower than 2019. Whereas, in other very-high, high, medium and low HDI countries the decrease is found only in health index.

India’s per capita income in terms of Purchasing Power Parity has gone down by 5 per cent compared to a 2 per cent increase for the developing countries during 2019 and 2021-22.

The decline in life expectancy is sharper for India than for developing countries.

There is a sharp fall in the expected years of schooling and there is also high inequality in different dimensions of development.

Inequality: According to inequality-adjusted HDI figures, India’s rank has gone down from the 132nd to 134th position. This inequality is higher than the average figures for other countries.

However, India has seen decline in health and education inequalities compared to other low and medium HDI countries.

Health inequality: India’s rank in health inequality has improved during 2010-21 which is better than other low and medium HDI countries.

Still, the inequalities in health and education are more than twice that of the very high and high HDI countries.

Therefore, access to quality education is must for determining the focus of the country’s development strategy as it moves towards a 10 trillion dollar economy.

What are the issues associated with findings of the HDI report?

There is a doubt on the calculation methods and data used by UNDP for finding HDI.

We cannot come to the exact conclusion until the robustness of the data used is confirmed.

Therefore, there is an urgency of conducting the population Census and regular national surveys in India.

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