Human Development Report 2021-22 [Latest Report]

Human Development Report is published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Key findings of important international organizations’ reports are helpful for the civil services examination preparation.

This article will provide you with relevant facts about human development report from both prelims and mains perspectives of the IAS Exam.

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Objectives of the Human Development Report

The UNDP’s HDR focuses on a human development approach that entails people and their opportunities and choices. The objectives behind publishing the report are:

  1. Advancement of human development
  2. Expansion of opportunities, choices and freedom of people across the globe
  3. Introduction to the innovative ideas concerning human development
  4. Advocation of practical policy changes
  5. Challenging the policies and approaches that hinder human development

Human Development Report 2021-22

The theme of the HDR 2021-22 which was compiled amidst the COVID Pandemic is “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World”.

  • India was ranked 132 out of 191 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) 2021.
    • With this, India has registered a decline in its score for two consecutive years for the first time in 30 years.
  • India’s HDI value is 0.633 (medium human development category) as compared to the global average of 0.732.
    • The drop in India’s HDI from 0.645 in 2018 to 0.633 in 2021 can be attributed to falling life expectancy at birth.
    • The report also notes that about 90% of countries have registered a reduction in their HDI value in 2020 or 2021.
  • India’s life expectancy at birth: 67.2 years as compared to the global average of 71.4 years
  • India’s expected years of schooling: 11.9 years as compared to the global average of 12.8 years.
  • India’s mean years of schooling: 6.7 years as compared to the global average of 8.6 years
  • India’s gross national income (GNI) per capita (2017 PPP): $6,590 as compared to the global average of $16,752.
  • Gender Inequality Index: India has been ranked 122.
  • As per the report, the last two years have had a serious impact on billions of people worldwide due to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war which have been aggravated by sweeping social and economic shifts and dangerous planetary changes.

Human Development Report 2020

  • Released in Dec 2020 – Theme is ‘Human Development and the Anthropocene’
  • India’s rank – 131/189 countries
  • HDI of India – 0.645 (medium human development category)
  • 50% increase in HDI since 1990 – 0.645 (0.429)
  • Since 1990, life expectancy at birth in India increased by 12 years
  • Mean and expected years of schooling in India rose by 3.5 years and 4.5 years respectively (since 1990)
  • Since 1990, GNI per capita of India increased by 274%
  • India’s HDI of 0.645 is better than South Asian neighbours
  • However, Inequality-adjusted HDI or IHDI is 0.475 for India (slightly worse than Bangladesh)
  • Gender Development Index (GDI of India), 2020 – 0.820 (less than average for South Asian countries and less than medium HDI countries)
  • Gender Inequality Index, 2020 – India 0.488 (123/162 countries)
  • Check the data on the official site:

The data below is for the year 2019 given for reference. However, UNDP revised the underlying data recently making it difficult to compare properly.

5 Indices of Human Development Report (HDR)

UNDP annually released HDR with 5 composite indices:

  1. Human Development Index
  2. Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index
  3. Gender Development Index
  4. Gender Inequality Index
  5. Multidimensional Poverty Index

HDR – Human Development Index

It is human development indicator which ranks countries by combining measures of the three dimensions given below:

  1. Long and Healthy Life
  2. Knowledge
  3. Decent Standard of Living

A few important points about this index are given below:

  1. Healthy life is measured by:
    1. Life Expectancy at Birth
  2. Knowledge is measured by
    1. Expected Years of Schooling
    2. Mean Years of Schooling
  3. Standard of Living is measured by
    1. Gross National Income Per Capita (PPP$)
  4. India ranked 129 among 189 countries with a value of 0.647.
  5. Life expectancy at birth India between 1990 and 2018 increased by 11.6 years.
  6. Mean year of schooling in India between 1990 and 2019 increased by 3.5 years, and expected years of schooling increased by 4.7 years.
  7. India’s per capita income between 1990 and 2018 increased by over 250%.
  8. In India’s neighbouring countries; China and Sri Lanka rank better than India where China stood at 85 and Sri Lanka at 71.

HDR – Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index

It is another indicator that was introduced in the Human Development Report in 2010. Apart from the three dimensions that HDI uses while ranking countries, the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IDHI) considers ‘Inequality’ as the fourth dimension.

A few important points about this index are given below:

  1. Loss in HDI due to inequality is indicated by this index.
  2. India’s HDI value after discounting the IDHI is 0.477.

HDR – Gender Development Index

The equality between genders is measured by the Gender Development Index. It was introduced in 1995 with the HDR. The objectives to introduce this index with HDR are:

  1. To add a new dimension to the already existing HDI, which is ‘Gender-Sensitive’.
  2. It is taken as a rival indicator to gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP.)
  3. The gaps between the genders in areas like life expectancy, education and incomes are considered to measure human development.

A few important points about this index are given below:

  1. Kuwait ranks at the top in the Gender Development Index
  2. India ranks at 153 out of 166 nations.
  3. Niger ranks at the bottom at 166.

HDR – Gender Inequality Index (GII)

Considered as the major barrier to human development, gender inequality poses many disadvantages to women and girls across the globe. The Gender Inequality Index released with human development report uses three aspects of human development to measure the inequality between genders:

  1. Reproductive Health
  2. Empowerment
  3. Economic Status (Labour market participation)

A few important points about this index are given below:

  1. Reproductive health is measured by:
    1. Maternal Mortality Ratio
    2. Adolescent Birth Rates
  2. Empowerment is measured by:
    1. Proportion of parliamentary seats occupied by females
    2. Proportion of adult females and males aged 25 years and older with at least some secondary education
  3. Economic Status is measured by the labour force participation rate (LFPR) of female and male populations aged 15 years and older.
  4. Higher the GII value, higher is the inequality between males and females.
  5. 162 countries are ranked in HDR’s Gender Inequality Index.

HDR – Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)

The multidimensional poverty index released by UNDP’s HDR gives a comprehensive picture of the people living in poverty. It uses the three dimensions of HDI to measure the overlapping deprivations among head counts. It reflects on two aspects:

  1. Proportion of people that are poor
  2. Average number of deprivations each poor person experiences at the same time

A few important points about this index are given below:

  1. Similar to HDI, MPI also uses life expectancy, knowledge and standard of living as the three dimensions.
  2. It ranks 107 countries.
  3. India’s value in MPI is 0.123 with 27.9 percent multidimensional poor population.

Human Development Report 2019

The theme of the human development report of UNDP in 2019 was “Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: Inequalities in human development in the 21st century.” The report reflected on five key messages:

  1. Disparities in human development exist – Despite reducing extreme deprivations, the report suggested that there are still imbalances in human development. To eradicate disparities in human development by 2030 is also mentioned in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) but the report mentions scepticism about nations meeting this target.
  2. New generation of Inequality – There is an existence of divergence in enhanced capabilities. It means that as the inequality in basic capabilities like life expectancy is reducing, new inequalities w.r.t climate crisis and technological changes are being born.
  3. Power Imbalances – It is said to be the reason that leads to accumulation of inequalities through life.
  4. Need of Metrics Revolution – To assess and respond to the presence of inequalities on the way of human development, there is a need for a revolution in the metrics. It calls for a new generation of measurements.
  5. Need to act now – The report reiterated the need to act on bringing down the inequalities before inequalities in economic power are politically entrenched.

UNDP’S Human Development Report and India

In its 2019 Human Development Report, the following facts were published in relation to India and its human development:

  1. Reduction in Multidimensional Poverty – Between 2005-2015, India witnessed a sharp reduction in its multidimensional poverty. The number of multidimensionally poor people fell by more than 271 million.
  2. Persistence of Horizontal Inequalities – The report mentions that different groups perform differently. Scheduled Caste, tribes and Other Backward Classes underperform across the human development indicators in comparison to the rest.
  3. Reduction in inequalities in basic areas of human development – Through educational convergence among other basic areas, there has been a reduction in inequality.
  4. Income inequality based on the top 10 per cent’s income share has risen since 1980 in most regions including in India
  5. Absolute Poverty Rate Reduced between 1980-2016
  6. Among BRIC nations, between 2000 and 2018, India’s income growth of the bottom 40% is 53% which is taken as below average. Income growth of the bottom 40% of China is 263%; Brazil – 20%; and Russia is 121%.
  7. The income growth of the top 1 percent has increased in India.

Important Facts about Human Development Report for UPSC

  1. The first Human Development Report was published in 1990 by the Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.
  2. The report broadly covers 13 dimensions as mentioned below:
    1. Humans Development
    2. Demography
    3. Education
    4. Environment Sustainability
    5. Gender
    6. Health
    7. Human security
    8. Income
    9. Inequality
    10. Mobility & Communication
    11. Socio-economic sustainability
    12. Trade and financial flows
    13. Work, employment and vulnerability
  3. The recent edition of the report is HDR 2019.
  4. HDR 2020 is expected to be released in 2021.

Aspirants should note down the important details about human development report for UPSC Mains GS 2 along with prelims GS 1. The facts presented by UNDP’s HDR can also be used in the essay paper of the civil services examination.

Related Links:

Global Indices and India’s Ranking International Organizations & Their Headquarters
How to study international relations for UPSC Mains? Topic-Wise GS 2 Questions of UPSC Mains
How to write an essay in UPSC exam? UPSC Calendar 2022

Online Quiz 2022

Frequently Asked Question – Human Development Report – HDR


Q.1. What is the need of Human Development Index?

Ans. Human Development Index is a statistical tool used to measure a country’s overall achievement in its social and economic dimensions.

Q.2. What are the components of human development?

Ans. There are six basic pillars of human development equity, sustainability, productivity, empowerment, cooperation and security.

Q.3. What is the HDI rank of India in 2021?

Ans. Human Development Report 2020: Out of 191 countries, India has ranked 132 on the Human Development Index 2021 prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). With an HDI value of 0.633, the country fell in the medium human development category.

Q.4. When was the first Human Development Report published?

Ans. The first UNDP Human Development Report was published in 1990.

Q.5. Which country ranks at 1st in the HDI 2021 report?

Ans. Switzerland topped the Human Development Index 2021 Report.


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