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Human Development Index


The Human Development Concept

Human Development is a development paradigm that is about much more than the rise or fall of national incomes. It is about creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive, creative lives in accord with their needs and interests. People are the real wealth of nations. Development is thus about expanding the choices people have to lead lives that they value. And it is thus about much more than economic growth, which is only a means - if a very important one - of enlarging people’s choices.

Fundamental to enlarging these choices is building human capabilities —the range of things that people can do or be in life. The most basic capabilities for human development are to lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable, to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living and to be able to participate in the life of the community. Without these, many choices are simply not available, and many opportunities in life remain inaccessible.

Human development has always been flexible and “open-ended” with respect to more specific definitions. There can be as many human development dimensions as there are ways of enlarging people’s choices. The key or priority parameters of human development can evolve over time and vary both across and within countries.

Some of the issues and themes currently considered most central to human development include:

• Social progress - greater access to knowledge, better nutrition and health services.

• Economics - the importance of economic growth as a means to reduce inequality and improve levels of human development.

• Efficiency - in terms of resource use and availability. human development is pro-growth and productivity as long as such growth directly benefits the poor, women and other marginalized groups.

• Equity - in terms of economic growth and other human development parameters.

• Participation and freedom - particularly empowerment, democratic governance, gender equality, civil and political rights, and cultural liberty, particularly for marginalized groups defined by urban-rural, sex, age, religion, ethnicity, physical/mental parameters, etc.

• Sustainability - for future generations in ecological, economic and social terms.

• Human security - security in daily life against such chronic threats as hunger and abrupt disruptions including joblessness, famine, conflict, etc.

Human Development Index (HDI)

HDI is a composite statistic used as an index to rank countries by level of “Human development”. The statistic is composed from statistics for life expectancy, education, and standard of living, collected at the national level using a pre determined formula. The HDI looks beyond GDP for a better definition of well being. It provides a compromise measure of three dimensions of human development :

1. Living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy),

2. Being educated (measured by adult literacy and gross enrolment in education)

3. Having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity).

The index is not a comprehensive measure of human development. It does not include important indicators such as gender or income inequality nor concepts like respect for human rights and political freedoms. But it provides a broadened prism for viewing human progress and the complex relationship between income and well-being.

How is HDI formulated ?

The origins of the HDI are to be found in the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) human Development Reports (HDRs). These were devised and launched by Pakistani economist Mahbul Ul Haq in 1990 with the purpose of shifting the focus of development economies from national income accounting to people centred policies.

Country wise Indexes can be calculated choosing one or more of the human development criteria can be better analysed by the UNDP Index building link:

What is Human Poverty Index (HPI)?

Human Poverty Index-1 focuses on the proportion of the people below certain threshold levels in each of the dimensions of Human Development Index- living a long and healthy life, having access to education, and a decent standard of living. By looking beyond income deprivation, the HdI-1 represents to the $1.25 a day(PPP US $) poverty measure.

The HPI-1 measures severe deprivation in health by proportion of people who are not expected to survive to age 40. Education is measured by the adult literacy rate. And a decent standard of living is measured by the unweighted average of people not using an improved water source and the proportion of children under age 5 who are underweight for their age.

With an HPI-1 value 28.0% India ranks 88th among 135 countries for which index has been calculated. With 15.5% people not having the probability to live beyond 40, India ranks 105th among 153 countries, and with 11% people not using improved water source India ranked 76th among 150 countries, with Adult literacy rate of 34% India was at rank 120 among 151 countries and with 46% children underweight for their age we ranked 137 among 138 countries.

What is Millennium Development Goal ?

The Millennium Development Goals or MDGs are eight time-bound goals that provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions. Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015, the MDGs are both global and local, tailored by each country to suit specific development needs. They provide a frame work for the entire international community to work together towards a common end- making sure that human development reaches everywhere.

These eight goals are :

1. Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger;

2. Achieving universal primary education;

3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women;

4. Reducing child mortality;

5. Improving maternal health;

6. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and other diseases;

7. Ensuring environmental sustainability:

8. Developing Global partnership for development.

These goals further breaks down to 21 quantifiable targets that are measured by 60 indicators.


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