Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: HDR Report

HDR Report

The UNDP's 2011 Human Development Report was released in New Delhi. The report, which is released every year, pioneered the use of the human development indicator, which economists believe captures various facets of human development that income statistics might miss.

India has traditionally underperformed on the index: a matter of considerable concern, demonstrating that an aspirational population is unable, because of the deficit in India's educational, connectivity and health infrastructure, to convert economic dynamism into a change in real living standards.

This year's report, however, has demonstrated additional cause for worry. Another indicator captures gender inequality across various dimensions: The rate at which women are part of the labour force; reproductive health, as measured by the maternal mortality ratio and the fertility rate; and empowerment, as measured by parliamentary representation and how many are in high school.

The report's outline of India's gender disparities is shocking, with some South Asian neighbours that have a considerably lower per capita income consistently outperforming India on this indicator. Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan are ranked 112, 113 and 115 in the latest report, while India is 129th (Sri Lanka, meanwhile, is at 74, way ahead of the pack, and has even overtaken China.). India's numbers have actually got worse since 2008.

Statistic after statistic demonstrates how unequal access to the Indian growth story is between men and women.

As our policymaking works out how to increase our record in service delivery of health, of education, of access to finance and markets India needs to better target improvements in human development. And as it does so, policy must keep in mind that policy that is framed without keeping our enormous and unconscionable gender divides in mind will fail at properly empowering one half of our vast population.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India