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India remains 134 in UN's Human Development Index
Wednesday, 07 October, 2009, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
Despite emerging as an economic superpower, India remains 134 among 182 countries in human development index (HDI) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), thereby making no difference in the quality of life enjoyed by the country's 1.1 billion people. Neighbouring countries China (92), Sri Lanka (102) and Bhutan (132) ranked higher than India, while Pakistan (141), Nepal (144) and Bangladesh (146) were ranked lower. The score is based on the new income index developed by the World Bank. India's score has been pulled down by its slower progress in education and health reforms compared with most nations. The HDI report 2009, released in New Delhi on Monday, pertains to the year 2007.

Norway has retained its status as the world's most desirable country to live in and Africa's Niger as the worst. The top 10 countries in the HDI 2007 include Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Japan. The US was on 10th slot, down a point from 2006, while at the bottom of the index were Sierra Leone (180), Afghanistan (181) and Niger (182).

India ranked 134 among 182 countries in 2007, the same as the ranking for 2006, which was released last year. Pakistan moved up one rank to 141, China moved up seven ranks to 92 and Bangladesh moved up two ranks to 146, compared to the year 2006 rankings.

Though India continues to rank 134, there is some hope. Between 1980 and 2007, there has been a rise in life expectancy at birth by approximately 8 years, in adult literacy by 25 percentage points and an increase in combined gross school enrolment by 20 percentage points. GDP per capita also increased by 199per cent. This marks a slow annual human development growth rate of 1.33%.

The report also measures India on the Human Poverty Index (HPI) and finds it ranks 88th among 135 countries. On adult literacy, India scores 34%, while in the number of people having no access to an improved water source it scores a respectable 11%. In the matter of underweight children (under 5 years), India scores 46%, along with Bangladesh (48), East Timor (46) and Yemen (46).

"Overall, India has made steady progress on the Human Development Index. Its value has gone up from 0.556 in 2000 to 0.612 in 2007," said Patrice Coeur Bizot, resident representative of UNDP in India.
 
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