India moves up in HDI rankings, but inequality rising

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Published: December 14, 2019 4:03:51 AM

India’s rankings do pale in comparison with the BRICS and neighbours like Sri Lanka—these economies are moving much faster. More important, income inequality has been rising in India over the last decade. The country has done better on the issue of horizontal inequity.

For instance, data highlights that there is a convergence of education attainment, with historically marginalised groups catching up with the rest of the population in the proportion of people with five or more years of education.

India, the UN’s new Human Development Index report highlights, has bettered its position over the last ranking by one spot, ranking 129 out of 189 countries. Although the jump comes on the back of improvement in life expectancy and per capita income, expected and mean years of schooling have remained constant for the last three years. The report highlights the problem of rising inequality in the country.

India’s rankings do pale in comparison with the BRICS and neighbours like Sri Lanka—these economies are moving much faster. More important, income inequality has been rising in India over the last decade. The country has done better on the issue of horizontal inequity.

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For instance, data highlights that there is a convergence of education attainment, with historically marginalised groups catching up with the rest of the population in the proportion of people with five or more years of education. Similarly, there is convergence in access to and uptake of mobile phones. But this difference has increased in terms of access to computers. With UN revising its methodology to capture more data—there are no revisions suggested to HDI—India would do well to address inequality, especially as new challenges emerge in an increasingly tech-driven world.

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