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India drops two ranks in Human Development Index

A boy plays hanging on the vine from a tree at a bricks factory on the outskirts of Jammu on December 11, 2020. The 2020 Human Development Report said indigenous children in India, Cambodia and Thailand show more malnutrition-related issues such as stunting and wasting.   | Photo Credit: AP

India dropped two ranks in the United Nations’ Human Development Index this year, standing at 131 out of 189 countries. However, if the Index were adjusted to assess the planetary pressures caused by each nation’s development, India would move up eight places in the ranking, according to the report.

For the first time, the United Nations Development Programme introduced a new metric to reflect the impact caused by each country’s per-capita carbon emissions and its material footprint, which measures the amount of fossil fuels, metals and other resources used to make the goods and services it consumes. This paints a “less rosy, but clearer assessment” of human progress, said UNDP India’s representative Shoko Nada.

Also read | India ranked 129 on the 2019 Human Development Index

Norway, which tops the HDI, falls 15 places if this metric is used, leaving Ireland at the top of the table. In fact, 50 countries would drop entirely out of the “very high human development group” category, using this new metric, called the Planetary Pressures-adjusted HDI, or PHDI. Australia falls 72 places in the ranking, while the United States and Canada would fall 45 and 40 places respectively, reflecting their disproportionate impact on natural resources. The oil and gas-rich Gulf States also fell steeply. China would drop 16 places from its current ranking of 85.

China’s net emissions (8 gigatonnes) are 34% below its territorial emissions (12.5 gigatonnes) compared with 19% in India and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“No country has yet been able to achieve a very high level of development without putting a huge strain on natural resources. We have to be the first generation to do things right,” said Ms. Nada. She praised India’s record in achieving its carbon emissions goals so far, and urged Indian policy makers to take the path of sustainable development.

Also read | India gained decade of life expectancy since 1990, says Lancet study

The HDI itself is an assessment of a nation’s health, education and standards of living. Although this year’s report covers 2019 only, and does not account for the impact of COVID, it projected that in 2020, global HDI would fall below for the first time in the three decades since the Index was introduced.

India drops two ranks in Human Development Index
 

PTI adds:

According to the report published by the United Nations Development Programme on December 15, India’s gross national income per capita fell to $6,681 in 2019 from $6,829 in 2018 on purchasing power parity (PPP) basis.

Purchasing power parity or PPP is a measurement of prices in different countries that uses the prices of specific goods to compare the absolute purchasing power of the countries’ currencies.

The report said evidence from Colombia to India indicates that financial security and ownership of land improve women’s security and reduce the risk of gender-based violence, clearly indicating that owning land can empower women.

It further said indigenous children in Cambodia, India and Thailand show more malnutrition-related issues such as stunting and wasting.

“In India different responses in parent behaviour as well as some disinvestment in girls’ health and education have led to higher malnutrition among girls than among boys as a consequence of shocks likely linked to climate change,” the report said.

The report said that under the Paris Agreement, India pledged to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP from the 2005 level by 33-35% by 2030 and to obtain 40% of electric power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.

“As part of the plan, the National Solar Mission aims to promote solar energy for power generation and other uses to make solar energy competitive with fossil fuel—based options. Solar capacity in India increased from 2.6 gigawatts in March 2014 to 30 gigawatts in July 2019, achieving its target of 20 gigawatts four years ahead of schedule. In 2019, India ranked fifth for installed solar capacity,” the report said.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 8:03:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-ranks-131-in-2020-un-human-development-index/article33348091.ece

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