Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Human Development Index


Topics Covered:

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

Human Development Index

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings, about HDI.

For Mains: Challenges, concerns and ways to address them.


Context: UNDP has released the annual HDI 2019 report.

  • The focus of the 2019 Report is on ‘Inequality in Human Development’.

India’s position:

  • India’s rank- 129. Last year’s rank- 130.
  • Despite lifting 271 million people out of poverty between 2005-15, India still remains home to 28% (364 million) of the world’s poor.
  • Between 1990 and 2018, India’s HDI value increased by 50 per cent (from 0.431 to 0.647), which places it above the average for countries in the medium human development group (0.634) and above the average for other South Asian countries (0.642).
  • This means that in the last three decades, life expectancy at birth in India increased by 11.6 years, whereas the average number of schooling years increased by 3.5 years. Per capita incomes increased 250 times.
  • India is only marginally better than the South Asian average on the Gender Development Index (0.829 vs 0.828), and ranks at a low 122 (of 162) countries on the 2018 Gender Inequality Index.

India’s neighbours:

Sri Lanka (71) and China (85),

Bhutan (134), Bangladesh (135), Myanmar (145), Nepal (147), Pakistan (152) and Afghanistan (170).

Global scenario:

  • Norway, Switzerland, Ireland occupied the top three positions in that order.
  • Globally, there are 1.3 billion poor people.
  • Around 661 million of these poor people live in Asia and the Pacific.
  • South Asia constitutes 41% of the world’s poor.

Changing nature of inequality:

  • As the number of people coming out of poverty is increasing, the world is veering towards another type of poverty.
  • The old inequalities were based on access to health services and education whereas the next generation of poverty is based on technology, education and climate.

What is HDI?

Published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it is a statistical tool used to measure a country’s overall achievement in its social and economic dimensions. The social and economic dimensions of a country are based on the health of people, their level of education attainment and their standard of living.

It is part of the Human Development Report.

The other indices that form the part of the 2019 Report are:

  1. Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI),
  2. Gender Development Index (GDI),
  3. Gender Inequality Index (GII) and
  4. Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

HDI measures average achievement of a country in three basic dimensions of human development:

  1. A long and healthy life.
  2. Access to knowledge.
  3. A decent standard of living.


Sources: the Hindu.