India slipped one position and was ranked 131st among 188 countries on the Human Development Index 2016 released by the United Nations Development Programme on Tuesday. India became the third South Asian country on the list with Sri Lanka (73) and Maldives (105) being much ahead of it.
With a human development index value of 0.64, India has been put under the “medium” development category. In 1990, India’s HDI was 0.428 – there has been an over 45% increase in the HDI value. Among the BRICS countries, India came second to China which recorded the highest improvement in HDI value – 48%. Norway topped the list with the highest HDI value (0.949), while Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939) followed.

A long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living are the important factors to calculate the HDI value of a country.

The report said that since 2005, India has introduced many progressive acts, including the right to education, work, information, food and public services. “These acts have been marked by their explicit use of rights-based claims and by the design of innovative governance mechanisms that seek to enhance the transparency, responsiveness and accountability of the state,” the report said.

UNDP Resident Representative (India) Yuri Afanasiev said national development programmes like Skill India, Digital India, Make in India and Beti Bachao Beti Badhao...”illustrate the government’s commitment to “identifying and mapping human development deficits”. The report said the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme of India was a prime example of combining “social protection with appropriate employment strategies”.

However, the report noted that ending subsidies to the rich can free resources for human development. “In 2014, the richest 20% of India’s population enjoyed subsidies of $16 billion thanks to six commodities and services,” it said. The infant and under-five mortality rate have improved in India, the report added.