According to the National Human Development Report (NHDR), released by Prime Minister AB Vajpayee on Tuesday, while HDI grew at an average of 2.6 per cent during 1983-84 and 1993-94, it was more than 3 per cent during the period between 1993-94 and 2001.
The HDI is better for smaller states and Union territories. Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa had HDI close to half of Kerala’s in the eighties. While Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, MP,West Bengal and Bihar improved their HDI significantly in the eighties, only Rajasthan, MP and UP could maintain the momentum in the nineties.
The report also says that rural-urban disparities declined over the time. There was a correlation between the HDI and income-levels of better-off and poor states, but it was not very clear in the case of middle income group states.
The NHDR has criticised the poor quality of governance, saying excessive controls and regulations are coming in the way of improving the pace of human development. “Issues of governance have to be addressed on a priority as they impinge on the success of economic reforms.”
Suggesting a re-look at the structure, composition, functioning and the role of civil administration in the development of the country, the report said, “elimination of unnecessary procedural controls and regulations that stifle enterpreneurial energy, breed corruption and affect the common man has to be the priority area of improving governance.”
Governments keep announcing things like ‘single-window clearance procedures’ and ‘investor assistance cells.’ These are seldom effective because of inadequate coordination between official agencies and fragmented and arbitrary exercise of powers of the government, says the NHDR.
“Allocation of adequate public resources for furthering human development alone is not enough. It is equally important to use them efficiently and effectively,” the report says.
There was a considerable decline in human poverty, from around 47 per cent in the early 80’s to about 39 per cent in the early 90s, though inter-state differences are still there, according to the NHDR.
It pointed out that human attainments appeared to be better and more sustained in those parts of the country where there is social mobilisation for human development and where female literacy and empowerment encourage women to have a say in the decision making process at the household-levels.