This refers to “India's HDI disappoints” (December 16). In the Human Development Index (HDI) rankings of the United Nations Development Programme, the position of India has hovered around 130 with no perceptible improvement for many years. This should disappoint all. Though India is the sixth largest economy in the world, the poor HDI ranking clearly points at the inequality between the rich and the poor, which is quite steep. In many parameters of the index, India's position is comparable to our South Asian neighbours. In fact, Sri Lanka's HDI ranking has been consistently better than that of India.
Three decades of economic reforms have not been successful in bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The fruits of development haven't reached the poorer sections of the society to the extent desired. The reforms, though started in 1991, have not gathered pace over time. These have happened only in bits and pieces with a big time lag in between. As a result, economic growth hasn't been able to encompass everyone. Another aspect that is worrisome is that the female population has lagged behind its male counterpart in reaping the benefits of development. The inequality in income between men and women is too stark to be missed. The same is the story when one compares the level of education of men and women.
To remove this inequality among the different sections of the society, the strategy has to be two-pronged. First, economic reform must be made robust, fast-paced and irreversible so as to generate consistent high growth. Second, a mechanism/process should be developed to balance regional disparities and reduce inequality among different sections of the society by associating everyone in the growth journey.
Sanjeev Kumar Singh, Jabalpur
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