Wednesday, September 07, 2005

India's abysmal Performance in Human Development

UN Report on Human Development was released recently.

Statistics for India : Look at the numbers specially the health & gender related numbers. Keep rough figures in mind ...

Look at this animation (or Here This shows you human development in animation over the years. Again notice the India/China/Brazil/Russia/Africa numbers. This gives you very good idea about where things have headed.

Go here to see reports for various Indian states. Now if you wish to compare numbers across countries go here and create your own tables from the data. You can select the countries, regions and compare over 1000's of factors. I did some of my own analyzing and its pretty neat.

Summary: India literally sucks on health and gender statistics (and all others ...) compared to most of the developing countries.
Our female literacy rate is 47% (China: 86%, Brazil 88%, Russia 99%).
Our Health expenditure per capita is an absymal 99 PPP $ (China: 261, Brazil: 661, Russia:535).
Child underweight for age: 47% (china: 10, Brazil 6, Russia 3).
Avalability of sanitation facilites: 30% (China: 44%, Brazil 75%, SubSaharan Africa 36%)

The numbers are horrible and NO excuses. If you look at state wide numbers you will find that southern states are steadily improving and northern states are rapidly declining creating this huge divide in India.

Jeane Dreze in one of his papers after analyzing census data for 1981 & 91 concludes that if we increase our female literacy rate to 70% we will have achieved stability in population growth (i.e growth rate of 2.1 per female ). That strong is the impact of female education.Just look at Kerala if you want an example closer to home

Under 5 mortality: 19 (per thousand) Kerala vs 95 India vs 123 UP
Fertility rate: 2.0 (births per woman) K, 2.9 India, 4.0 U.P.
Birth Attended by Health Professionals: 94% K, 42% India, 22% U.P.
Child receving all vacinations: 80% K, 42% India, 11% Bihar, 21% U.P.

From the report & articles:
"Perhaps the starkest inequality is revealed by this simple fact: girls aged 1-5 are 50 pc more likely to die than boys. This fact translates into 130,000 ‘‘missing’’ girls."

"The under-5 mortality rate is more than twice as high for children of illiterate mothers as for children whose mothers have completed middle school. Apart from being less prone to undernutrition, better educated mothers are more likely to space births — all factors positively associated with child survival."

"Girls born in Kerala are five times more likely to reach their fifth birthday, are twice as likely to become literate and are likely to live 20 years longer than girls born in Uttar Pradesh"

Have we really being independent for >58 years and at what gains to the masses?. Is it worth being the emerging economic-political-military-technology superpower when majority of country is in this state?

Some artilces on this:


At 7:03 PM, Blogger Sunil said...

One major point is the MASSIVE disparity within Indian States, with UP and Bihar doing especially badly. Really goes to show what happens when government machinery almost totally fails, and when it partly functions....

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Rahul said...

Ya The disparity is huge. Its like we have two countries in India geographically. The better south developing country and the third world most poor country in terms of almost everything (& above all mostly heavily populated) north (except Himachal Pradesh). Its interesting to see the differences and why they exist. Take example of Himachal Pradesh, in 1961 in terms of literacy/helath it was worse or same as Bihar but today its as good as Kerala. The achivement is pretty significant because its over far less period of time than say Kerala which has had movements/change from 19th century. Just goes to show things can change.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Mustang said...

couple of observations:
-Increase in urban population % frm 1975-2003 is 7%
-Public expenditure % on preprimary and primary education went down (only marginally though)in 2000-2002 as compared to 1990
-Adult literacy rate (female rate as % of male rate): 65...youth literacy rate (female rate as % of male rate): 80....a positive

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Rahul said...

Mustang/Ravi -
Agreed the numbers you show are slight positive. But look in terms of larger picture. Countries which have low economic per capita income/low growth/have been less number of years independent than us are far better off in terms of these human development factors. Take latin american countries or China or infact Bangaldesh has also improved far more. In those terms when these countries can improve so substantially why cant we?. Agreed we improved but this miniscule improvement wont help. Generations will be lost until we come to a point of universal literacy ... The goal is to benefit most people and before they lose their lives.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Mustang said...


Some of the numbers I pointed out are not even the expense on primary/preprimary education has gone down :(
with only 7 % increase in urban population, India is still a rural country!

I haven't had a chance to compare the numbers with other countries or even look at each state individually...those will give better picture.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Rahul said...

For comparison of human development numbers across countries/regions/states watch out the blog. I have done some reading on this and should post something with detailed numbers on the weekend.


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