India lags many of its South Asian neighbours on the human development index (HDI) primarily because of inequalities, said a recent report by the United Nations Development Fund. These inequalities, in turn, hamper India’s economic growth.
India ranked 130 out of 189 countries on the 2018 HDI index with a score of 0.640, which places it in the “medium” category of development. It fared worse than Sri Lanka (HDI 0.77, rank 76) and China (0.75, 86) but better than Pakistan (0.56 and 150), Nepal (0.57, 149) and Bangladesh (0.68, 136).
India lost out 26.8 points on the index due to inequalities, while the South Asian average for this factor is 26.1 points. Since human development index is driven by health, education and income, India will have to focus on excelling on these fronts to progress economically and reduce inequalities.
If India plans to double its economy to $5 trillion (Rs 350 lakh crore) by 2022, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated in August 2018, and grow at 8 percent per year, as he predicted, it will need to invest more in health and education.
Consider this: Despite being the sixth largest economy in the world, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.59 trillion (Rs 180 lakh crore), India accounts for about 30.8 percent of world’s stunted children. Not just short for their age, but one in five children in India is also wasted and underweight. Undernourished children struggle to stay healthy and find it hard to catch up with their peers in classrooms and at workplace.
Malnourishment may have cost India up to $46 billion (Rs 3.2 lakh crore) in terms of income opportunities lost, which is more than double of what India spent on health, education and social protection schemes in the 2018-19 Union Budget ($21.6 billion or Rs 1.38 lakh crore).
Indians work for just 6.5 years at peak productivity (compared to 20 years in China, 16 in Brazil and 13 in Sri Lanka), and India ranks 158th out of 195 countries in an international ranking of human capital published in medical journal The Lancet, IndiaSpend reported in September 2018.
“Our findings show the association between investments in education and health and improved human capital and GDP, which policymakers ignore at their own peril,” said author of the study Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Source :- (Firstpost)