Tuesday, 16 January 2007

HDI and India

HDI i.e. Human Development Index is said to be the indicator of the standard of living in a country. The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and enrollment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income). Internationally it is accepted that this is not a comprehensive representative of the total quality of the life in a country. It does not, for example, include important indicators such as inequality and difficult to measure indicators like respect for human rights and political freedoms.

As mentioned above if you consider two factors, inequality and education together then the point arises of depth of the education available in a country. This particularly will be true in case of India. Let us first see the calculated parts of HDI as Life expectancy at birth ranked 121 with 63.6 years. Adult literacy rate for age 15 years and older ranked 107 with 61%. GDP per capita PPP US$3139 ranked 114. Gives HDI value 0.611 and overall rank combining all the factors above is 127. But this does not by any means take into consideration the level of skills and the depth of education available in the country.

After due consideration it seems necessary to reformulate the calculation of HDI with added weightage to the inequality of society, as almost unanimously we have accepted the capitalism as part of our global society and on the same principle the facilities of education available within the country. It seems highly plausible that there will be considerable shuffle in the current HDI listings. This surely will give India a little higher level than rank 127. It seems more important especially with the emergence of India as a global outsourcing hub with specialization in IT and financial services and educational institutes like IIMs and IITs with a global recognition. Indian human resource is one of the most sought after entities in the world. This chasm of global demand and HDI rank 127 has to be filled. No definition can be eternal; it has to evolve with time. And now is about time we pay attention to HDI rankings.

With emergence of the powers like BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, many such definitions need to be looked into. Let us kick start the mission with HDI.

Courtesy http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_IND.html

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