New Delhi: India is ranked at an unimpressive 134 out of 187 countries in human development in terms of health, knowledge and standard of living although life expectancy at birth has marginally increased to 65.4 years.

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A UN report has placed India in the 'Medium' category of nations in terms of human development while it neighbours like Pakistan and Bangladesh have been ranked in 'Low' category with positions of 145 and 146, respectively.

The Human Development Index (HDI) report, prepared by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), highlights that 'intensity of deprivation' in India was 50 per cent in terms of 'overall life satisfaction' between 2006 and 2010.

The life expectancy at birth in India in 2011 was 65.4, a marginal increase over 65.1 in 2010.

In 'gender inequality index', India has been placed at 129 rank.

Expected years of schooling was 10.3, the same as in 2010, according to the report. In the context of education, the report notes that the female literacy percentage in 2010 was 26.6 among those aged 25 and above while it was 50.4 among their male counterparts.

The HDI is a measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development such as a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.

In the last report, India had been ranked at 119 out of 169 countries. But the new report for 2011 says it is misleading to compare values and rankings with those of previously published reports, because the underlying data and methods have changed, as well as the number of countries included in the Human Development Index.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who was present at the function where the report was released, was dismissive about its observations, saying these were "grossly misleading" as the country's progress in respect of human development should be seen from a 20-year perspective.

The UN report says that between 1980 and 2011, India's life expectancy at birth increased by 10.1 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.5 years and expected years of schooling increased by 3.9 years.

The country's HDI value for 2011 was 0.547, marking a 59 percent increase from 0.344 in 1980 at an annual average of 1.5 percent, it noted.

However, the report pointed that the country's HDI of 0.547 was below the average of 0.630 for countries in the medium human development group and below the average of 0.548 for countries in South Asia.

In terms of 'gender inequality index', the report highlights that in India, 10.7 percent of Parliamentary seats are held by women and 26.6 per cent of adult women have reached a secondary or higher level of education compared to 50.4 percent of their male counterparts.

For every 100,000 live births, 230 women die from pregnancy-related causes and the adolescent fertility rate is 86.3 births per 1000 live births.

Female participation in the labour market is 32.8 percent compared to 81.1 per men, the report says.

The 'gender inequality index' reflects gender-based inequalities in three dimensions -- reproductive health, empowerment and economic activity.

Ramesh said a better way of analysing the progress made by countries including India is to measure comparative success they have achieved on this count in the last few years from their previous record rather than by the number of their positions in the international chart.

India joins income concentrated


India is among the few developing countries where income has become more concentrated among top earners and has joined the "land grab" by economically powerful nations, says a UN report.

Noting that the gap between the rich and the poor widened over the last two decades particularly in emerging market economies, the Human Development Report 2011 released here on Wednesday said, "Income has also become more concentrated among top earners in China, India and South Africa."

The report also said the private, government and public- private joint ventures, usually from capital-rich countries, are acquiring long-term leases or ownership rights to large portions of land (often more than 1000 hectares) in developing countries.

"Economically powerful developing countries, such as China, India and Saudi Arabia, as well as developed countries are joining the land grab," it said.

According to the report, "while sources differ, all suggest a recent acceleration, with estimates of more than 20 to 30 million hectares transacted between 2005 and mid-2009 and about 45 million hectares between 2008 and 2010."

The rise in commodity prices appears to be motivating both government and private purchases, it said but added that several studies have reported human rights violations, with local population forcibly displaced and access to local natural resources restricted.

"Hurt most were small holders, indigenous people and women, who often lack formal title to the lands on which they live and farm. Environmental organisations have criticized negative impacts, including deforestation, loss of biodiversity and threats to wildlife," the report said.

(Agencies)