15 April, 2021

The Tyranny Of Numbers

It's 10 years late—135 nations, even Myanmar, beat us to it—but that's the least of its ills

The Tyranny Of Numbers
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Ranking human development is always intimidating. And the Indian government has been especially edgy about getting on with the task. It has been suspicious, claim people in the know, with 'human development' as formulated by the UNDP that ranked India below Pakistan in some of its earlier reports. Now, after a decade of hesitation and 375 national and subnational human development reports by 135 countries, India was one of the last major countries to release its National Human Development Report (for 2001) last fortnight.

But the findings of India's homegrown report surprise no one. Comprising the human development index (HDI), human poverty index and gender equality index, the Planning Commission-authored 297-page document reiterates, say critics, some of India's best-known statistical cliches: Kerala atop the index, Bihar at the bottom and marginal movement of other states in between in the last three decades.

Not that it was ever the report's mandate to show change where none exists. Even so, this latest HDI ranking has been done only for 15 states, "for which, some...

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