HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX Bangladesh fares better than India and Pakistan

Kamran Reza Chowdhury

Apart from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, none of the countries in the South Asian region have been able to change its previous ranking this year

In light of the UNDP’s projection for a strong performance next year, Bangladesh has become one of 18 countries that made “extraordinary progress” in terms of global human development index this year.

Bangladesh has risen in ranking to 142 (among 187 countries), graduating from last year’s position of 143, thanks to its better performance in the health, education and gender issues, according to Human Development Report 2014 launched globally yesterday.

Apart from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, none of the countries in the South Asian region have been able to change its previous ranking this year.

In terms of gender inequality and gender development index, Bangladesh had fared better than India and Pakistan. India’s overall ranking is 135 while Pakistan’s position is 146.

“Bangladesh has gone one step ahead this year with 142 position by graduating from the previous 143rd ranking. Apart from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, none of the South Asian countries has been able to improve its position this year,” KAM Morshed, assistant country director of United Nations Development Programme, told reporters while unveiling the report at the conference room of the National Economic Council in the capital’s Agargoan.

“As indicated in 2013 report, Bangladesh is among the 18 countries globally who has shown extraordinary progress in terms of HDI [Human Development Index],” said the UNDP in its summary.

Sri Lanka is the best performer in the overall ranking with 73rd position followed by the Maldives with 103rd ranking among the South Asian region. Afghanistan’s position is 169 while Bhutan stands at 136, six ranks ahead of Bangladesh. Nepal and Myanmar’s ranks are 145 and 150 respectively.

Bangladesh outshines India, Pakistan and Nepal in terms of inequality-adjusted HDI.

“Among the South Asian countries, Bangladesh has also demonstrated a good track record of inclusive development. After adjusting for inequality, Bangladesh is doing better compared to India, Pakistan and Nepal indicating a good pro-people policy regimes,” said the report.

Between 1980 and 2013, the South Asian region made the fastest progress in terms of human development.

“Again, of the South Asian countries, Afghanistan now has the fastest progress [2%] followed by Bangladesh [1.62%],” said Morshed.

He said Afghanistan was a war-ravaged country that saw huge pump of foreign funds unlike Bangladesh.

“If we exclude Afghanistan, Bangladesh has performed best in terms of human index in the South Asia region.”

According to gender inequality index, Bangladesh’s performance is better.

“In fact, when gender inequality is considered, Bangladesh ranked 115, well ahead of India and Pakistan [both at 127 rank],” said the report.

The newly introduced gender development index had also put Bangladesh in better position (107) than India (132) and Pakistan (145).

This index shows that the progress made by Bangladeshi women against their men counterpart which fares well when compared with the two subcontinental countries.

In terms of multidimensional poverty index, Bangladesh (0.237) is better than India and Pakistan with 0.282 points.

Mohammad Mejbahuddin, secretary of External Resources Division under the Finance Ministry, who attended the launching ceremony as the chief guest, said micro-credit played an important role in reducing poverty.

He also said the government was focusing on improving the quality of education that could contribute to further improvement in human development indexes.

Neal Walker, resident representative of UNDP in Bangladesh, said in the meeting that Bangladesh had enormous potential to utilise its huge youth population.

Around half of Bangladesh’s population was below 25 years.

“So, it is like a double-edged sword,” he said, adding that these people could be utilised through human development, otherwise they would be a burden.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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