India and Development

P. Sainath, the Magsasay award winning journalist and writer of Everybody Loves a Good Drought wrote an excellent article in the Hindu today (link) about India’s standing in the Human Development Index of UNDP. India apparently stands among the bottom 50% lower than countries like Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cuba and El Salvador, countries that have been devastated by civil strife and war. In fact, if you just consider India’s adivasis and dalits as a separate nation, they are in the lowest 25. He says,

Note that some of these nations rank up to 30 slots above us. Others fall within 30 nations below us. Not one of them has had our nine per cent growth. Few of them have been touted an emerging economic superpower. Nor even as a software superpower. Not even as a blossoming nuclear power. Together, they probably do not have as many billionaires as India does. In short, even nations much poorer than us in Asia, Africa and Latin America have done a lot better than we have.

India rose in the dollar billionaire rankings, though. From rank 8 in 2006 to number 4 in the Forbes list this year, but we slipped from 126 to 128 in human development. In the billionaire stakes, we are ahead of most of the planet and might even close in on two of the three nations ahead of us (Germany and Russia). It will, of course, be some time before we erase the national humiliation of lagging behind the top dog in that race, the United States. (Which, by the way, dropped from 8 to 12 in the HDI rankings this year.)

In fact, he points out that most statisticians had been using stale data for measuring Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). If you re-calculate based on the new 2006 data, India’s GDP (in PPP terms) reduces from $3.8 trillion to $2.34 trilliion (and the GDP at nominal exchange rate is $800 million billion, still less than a trillion), and the per-capita GDP falls from $3 779 to $ 2 341. He warns that we might soon be in for a surprise when agencies start using the new figures:

It is not clear yet how agencies other than the Bank, like the UNDP for instance, were working with PPP. Were they using updated measures or the old data? If the latter (which seems the case), and given India’s entry in the Bank survey is recent, even our awful HDI performance could get worse. The captain has switched on the seat belt sign. Buckle up: we could be landing soon on the updated numbers.

Aside: There is a new innovative way to crack CAT. This bloke added me on Windows Live Spaces (have you heard of it?) with the following message:

add me

i m perporsition on cat 08
so plzzzzzzzzzz.
help me

so add me

I still am at my wits end how my friendship will help somebody crack CAT. I think I should start enriching tuitions for CAT :P

[BTW, is he preparing for CAT, or is he proposing to a CAT?]

About kpowerinfinity
I *♥* technology, business, conversations, experiences, books, music, theater, coffee and people. I am an entrepreneur in the city of Bangalore - my company, Capillary, provides customer engagement programs and marketing services to retailers around the world.

8 Responses to India and Development

  1. Robin says:

    KK! You cat-ting skills are well known to the world it seems. He has sensed a born manager in you. Muhahaha!

  2. puresunshine says:


    please add me. If u add me i will the cat cells in my brain will get activated and i will be able to comprehend what cat is all about. U are born with the power. Enrich us and make us a successful human race. U have it in u “Krish”!!

    so, add me

    (PS-he is proposing to u it seems!!!)

  3. @robin: I am sure he is ‘senseless’ ;-)

    @puresunshine: I need dhoop to do anything. Sadly, there hasn’t been much of it these days in the winter for me to do any of my jadoo. And as far as I can say, I don’t have any feline characteristics, that he should!

  4. puresunshine says:

    lolz! what’s this! dandruff on ur homepage! ;)

  5. Sunny says:


    If ever there’s been a case of ‘bhaavnaaon ko samjho, shabdon ko mat pakdo’… this is it! :-)


    PS: I wonder if this was because he saw that status message of yours about adding 4 + 5 or something! [;)]

  6. @puresunshine: Yeah, I need to use Header And Shoulders!

    @sunny: Bhavna ko kaise samjhein? Pehle Bhavna aake mile toh!

  7. Sumedha says:

    Hey, thanks a lot… your HDI entry and the link to the article helped me write an essay that has been on my To Do list for about a month now, and that I now have about two days to finish. So… thanks. :)

  8. @sumedha: I should start charging for tuitions now!

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