Picture This: India’s HDI Journey Since 1990

17 June 2021 | Economy, HDI, Human Development, India

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UNDP defines HDI as, “a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and having a decent standard of living. The HDI is the geometric mean of normalized indices for each of the three dimensions.”

The first Global Human Development Report was released in 1990, and the picture above tracks the HDI scores, and ranks of India, its neighbours like Pakistan, and Bangladesh, other countries in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa), and also Norway, the country with the highest HDI score in the world.

According to the latest HDI scores released in 2020 (for 2019), India scored 0.645 with a rank of 131 out of 189 countries. Among SAARC countries, Bangladesh had a rank of 133 (HDI score: 0.632), while Pakistan had a rank of 154 (HDI: 0.557). Norway, the top ranked country in the world had a HDI score of 0.957. Among BRICS countries, Russia had the highest HDI score of 0.824 with a rank of 52.

You can check India’s rank or HDI score for all years between 1990 and 2019 by using the slider under the picture. India had a score of 0.429 in 1990 and was ranked 114th out of 144 countries. In the same year, Norway had a score of 0.849 and was ranked 4th.

In the same period, China has moved from a HDI score of 0.499 in 1990 (ranked 103) to a score of 0.761 with a rank of 85 in 2019.

HDI provides a measure to assess human development, i.e., how people’s lives are changing, measured in terms of health and education indicators. Two countries with the same GDP may have different HDI scores thus providing guidance to policy making.


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