India is ranked at 134 out of 187 countries in terms of HDI (Human Development Index). The top countries were Norway, Australia, Netherlands, US, New Zealand (in order of rank). The HDI is an effective measure of Education, health and income parameters and lists the countries according to their rank. The data for India can be viewed at this link.
Any comparison with previous year’s report would be futile as the number of countries was different and also the methodology and data have changed. However, the HDI value for India was 0.547 which makes it fall in the medium human development category. This figure is below the average of 0.630 for countries in the medium human development group and also slightly below average of 0.548 for South Asian countries. India is also behind Sri Lanka at 97, China 101 and Maldives 109. On the positive side, the life expectancy for India has increased by 10.1 years between 1980 and 2011. Also for the same period, the HDI value for India has increased by 59% or at the rate of 1.5% annually.
None of the BRIC nations are in the top 50 and this would remain a big challenge for the BRIC nations before they talk of a greater role in other areas of politico-economic significance.
In an earlier article I mentioned the need for shifting to MPI or the Multi Dimensional Poverty Index which is explained here. I think this would be a better methodology given the sort of arguments we have seen over the poverty line in India recently.
If you are concerned about money and believe that a country’s true worth can be determined by its GDP then perhaps the HDI and other indices would be of interest to you. However, another important concept which founds expression in contemporary world scenario is the Gross National Happiness which was first suggested by the then Bhutanese King. Wouldn’t it be interesting to compare the GNH and HDI ranks for a particular country? You would be surprised at the trends reflected because money power and a developed country does not usually mean a happy and contended society. Bhutan maybe far behind in HDI parameters (at 141) but would definitely jump ahead in terms of happiness.