HDI: Addressing Subnational Human Development in India

India’s economy is now one of the world’s fastest growing. However, this expansion has not resulted in an increase in the country’s Human Development Index (HDI). According to the 2021-22 Human Development Report, India ranks 132 out of 191 countries, trailing Bangladesh (129) and Sri Lanka (73).

A new index, the subnational HDI

  • Given India’s large size and population, addressing subnational or state-level disparities in human development is critical.
  • For 2019-20, a new index measuring human development at the subnational level has been developed using the methodology proposed by the UNDP and the National Statistical Office (NSO).

HDI Calculation

  • The HDI is calculated using four indicators: birth life expectancy, mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling, and GNP per capita.
  • Because subnational GNP per capita estimates are unavailable, the subnational HDI uses GSDP per capita as a proxy indicator for GNP.
  • The methodology entails calculating the geometric mean of the normalised indices for the three dimensions of human development while using the UNDP and NSO’s recommended maximum and minimum values.

Findings from the Subnational HDI

  • While some states have made significant progress, others continue to struggle, according to the subnational HDI. Delhi is at the top of the list, while Bihar is at the bottom.
  • Delhi, Goa, Kerala, Sikkim, and Chandigarh are the five states with the highest HDI scores. Nineteen states are classified as high human development states, including Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Punjab, Telangana, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh, with scores ranging from 0.7 to 0.799.
  • Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Assam are the bottom five states, with medium levels of human development.

Reasons for Differences

  • Economic growth has been unevenly distributed, with the top 10% of Indians owning more than 77% of the country’s wealth. As a result, significant disparities in access to basic necessities, healthcare, and education have emerged.
  • While India has made significant progress in terms of poverty reduction and increasing access to healthcare and education, the quality of these services remains a concern.

@the end

To ensure that the benefits of growth are more evenly distributed, the government must prioritise human development alongside economic growth, which necessitates a multifaceted approach to addressing issues such as income inequality, gender inequality, access to quality social services, environmental challenges, and social infrastructure investment. To realise its demographic dividend, India must prioritise investments in human development and job creation, particularly for its youth.

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