Poor social infrastructure in education and health has kept India’s ranking at a low 119th in the UNDP’s Human Develop-ment Index released worldwide on Thursday. India’s position is below China (89th) and Sri Lanka (91st) in the UNDP’s Human Development Report 2010.
The report also notes that eight Indian states have more poverty-stricken people (421 million) than the 26 poorest African nations combined (410 million). While India ranked 10th for income index improvement, it lags behind neighbours like Bangladesh and Pakistan in education and health. Norway topped the HDI, with a score of 0.938 (on a scale of zero to one), with Australia second (0.937), New Zealand third (0.907) and the US fourth (0.902). UNDP resident representative Patrice Coeur-Bizot said while India “made steady progress” in the past 20 years and its HDI was “above average” for countries in South Asia, “inequality is on the rise”. If this inequality is factored in, India’s HDI will see a 30 per cent loss. In UNDP’s new gender inequality index, India ranks a poor 122nd, behind Bangladesh and Pakistan (ranked 116th and 112th respectively), indicating they are doing better.