India HDI improves faster than China

I have been posting a series looking at the economic development performance of BJP and Congress, This post focuses on improvements in Human Development Index (HDI) in India and other comparable countries between under the UPA government. Similar analysis of the HDI improvements in Gujarat compared to its peers under Narendra Modi can be found in another post. HDI is often used as a shorthand for the state of overall human development. This is not a measure of just income, but a composite measure that includes measures of income, life expectancy, health, and education. The comparable countries are the same that I used when comparing GDP growth.

The chart below shows the HDI values for the ten countries in 2005 (in red), and the improvements since then (in green). The countries are ordered by HDI score as of 2005, with the lowest on the left. The numbers in parentheses on the green bars denote the percentage improvement in HDI score achieved in this period.

countries-hdi-improvementBangladesh had the worst HDI score in this set of countries in 2005, and it achieved the highest percentage improvement. It thereby caught up with Pakistan, which had a much smaller improvement. India achieved a greater percentage improvement than all other countries. India’s improvement is larger than China’s, which means that in this period India started to close the gap with China on overall development. In terms of the absolute increase in HDI score, China matched Bangladesh (and was ahead of India) because of its better initial position in 2005.

Taken together, the data on HDI and GDP growth gap with China indicate that India is beginning to catch up with China on its economic growth and overall human development. Although China continues to grow GDP faster than India, India is closing that growth gap. India is also making more rapid gains on HDI, which, if sustained, can allow it to catch up to China.

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