New Delhi: A UN study has ranked India at 134
out of 187 countries in terms of Human Development Index even
as it has observed that life expectancy at birth in the
country has increased by 10.1 per cent a year over the last
In the 2010 Human Development Report, prepared by UNDP,
India had been ranked at 119 out of 169 countries. But the new
report for 2011 says it is misleading to compare values and
rankings with those of previously published reports, because
the underlying data and methods have changed, as well as the
number of countries included in the Human Development Index.
The report said India`s Human Development Index (HDI)
value for 2011 was 0.547 positioning the country in the
`medium human development category`.
Neighbouring Pakistan was ranked at 145 (0.504) and
Bangladesh at 146 (0.500) respectively in terms of HDI.
It said between 1980 and 2011, India`s HDI value
increased from 0.344 to 0.547, an increase of 59 per cent or
an average annual increase of about 1.5 per cent.
However, the report pointed that the country`s HDI of
0.547 was below the average of 0.630 for countries in the
medium human development group and below the average of 0.548
for countries in South Asia.
The HDI is a measure for assessing long-term progress in
three basic dimensions of human development such as a long and
healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of
The report said the "mean" year of schooling for the
country increased by 3.9 years between 1980 and 2011 and
expected years of schooling increased by 3.9 years.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who was present
at the report release function, however, sounded dismissive
about the figures in the report.
He said a better way of analysing the progress made by
countries including India is to measure comparative success
they have achieved on this count in the last few years from
their previous record rather than by the number of their
positions in the international chart.
Ramesh said such presentation of human development
indices is "grossly misleading" and the country`s progress in
this respect should be seen from a 20-year perspective.
He said India has made huge strides in the field of
education and water supply system but admitted that the
biggest block in the human development indices for India is in
the field of sanitation where 58 per cent of open defecation
in the world takes place in India.
He also ruled that a mere expenditure of Rs 2000 crore in
the field of sanitation is being made while the budget for
water supply was Rs 20,000 crore.
Ramesh said that the answer to the problem of sanitation
is massive public investment in the sector on the lines of
what the Central Government has done in education sector.