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India's Human Development & Gender Equality 2024



  Mar 14, 2024

India’s Progress in Human Development and Gender Equality 2024



India has made notable progress in the Human Development Index (HDI), ranking 134 out of 193 countries, according to the latest 2023/24 Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). After experiencing a drop in 2021, India’s HDI value increased from 0.633 to 0.644 in 2022, placing it in the medium human development category. This improvement reflects positive developments across key HDI indicators, including life expectancy, education, and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita.

Enhancements in Gender Equality

India has also demonstrated significant strides in reducing gender inequality. With a Gender Inequality Index (GII) value of 0.437 in 2022, India fares better than the global average of 0.462 and the South Asian average of 0.478. This progress indicates a reduction in disparities between women and men in terms of reproductive health, empowerment, and labor market participation.

Global HDI Trends and India’s Position

The global HDI is projected to reach new highs in 2023, despite uneven progress among nations. Rich countries have seen record levels of human development, while many of the world’s poorest countries remain below their pre-crisis levels. This uneven advancement exacerbates inequality and fosters political polarization, creating a critical need for urgent collective action.

India’s achievements in human development are particularly noteworthy against this backdrop. Since 1990, India has seen substantial improvements in life expectancy, education, and GNI per capita. These advancements highlight the country’s long-term commitment to economic growth and improving the quality of life for its citizens.

Gender Disparities and Labor Market Participation

Despite the progress in gender equality, India still faces challenges, particularly in labor market participation. The gender gap in the labor force participation rate is one of the largest globally, with a 47.8% difference between women (28.3%) and men (76.1%). Addressing this disparity is crucial for further advancing gender equality and economic development in India.

Global Inequality and the Need for Action

The report underscores the rising global inequality, marking a shift from 20 years of narrowing gaps between rich and poor countries. This reversal emphasizes the importance of leveraging interdependence and capacity to address shared challenges, such as climate change, digitalization, poverty, and inequality.

The UNDP’s call for action includes focusing on planetary public goods, digital global public goods, expanding financial mechanisms, and reducing political polarization. India’s leadership in international cooperation, vaccine diplomacy, and Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) sets a precedent for addressing these global challenges.

India’s progress in the HDI and GII exemplifies its ongoing efforts to enhance human development and gender equality. By continuing to address existing disparities and leveraging its role in international cooperation, India can pave the way for a more equitable and sustainable future for all its citizens.


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