India slips on Human Development Index, takes the 131st rank
In a worrying piece of news, India slipped on the Human Development Index (HDI), taking the 131st position this year, as compared to the 129th place a year ago. This was revealed in the 2020 Human Development Report, which was published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Tuesday. UNDP officials, however, clarified that this doesn't imply other countries performed better than India.
HDI is a tool used to determine a nation's performance on social and economic parameters. These parameters are dependent on people's health, the education they receive, and their standard of living. A better rank on HDI means the people in the country live longer, have better education, and the gross national income per capita is also more.
Evidently, taking into account the coronavirus pandemic, a new index called PHDI was introduced this year. Reports said this new index adjusted standard HDI according to carbon dioxide emissions and material consumption. UNDP Resident Representative Shoko Noda explained PHDI was brought in as planetary considerations are important for development. "More than ever, we can do things differently for a better planet," Noda said.
Unsurprisingly, the main finding of this year was associated with the raging health crisis that has killed 1,644,548 around the world and infected 73,928,873. "COVID-19 responses have widened our imaginations as to what's possible. Life need not inevitably get worse due to planetary changes, but we must do more than minimize damages and commit to realizing unprecedented futures," the report said.
Meanwhile, the list was topped by Norway, followed by Ireland and Switzerland. Malaysia, one of the emerging Asian economies, took the 62nd spot. Despite taking a lower rank, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam were judged as countries having high human development. India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Cambodia, and Pakistan have medium human development. Niger took the 189th rank.
India performed poorly on a number of parameters, including healthcare and education quality, as well as sex ratio. The fact that a lot of women hold key positions in government bodies and in other notable fields, helped India fare well in socioeconomic empowerment parameters. Separately, Noda praised India's commitment toward reducing carbon emissions, saying that the nation can serve as an example for others.