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Compare the level of development in India taking at least three states on the basis of various aspects other than income.

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According to the UNDP, human development – or the human development approach - is about expanding the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of the economy in which human beings live. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) uses three attributes to measure the Human Development Index (HDI) of a country.

(1) Levels of wealth within the country as measured by GDP per capita and adjusted in purchasing power parity (PPP)

(2) Health – measured by average life expectancy

(3) Education – measured by the percentage of the population in education at a particular age (primary, secondary and tertiary) and literacy levels (educational attainment).

The above three attributes present an all-round development picture for respective countries. In India, the HDI for states can also be calculated in a similar fashion. Since different states have different populations, total income does not work as a good comparative measure. Average value of income is derived by dividing the total income of the state by the total population and is also called per capita income. Although average income is used for comparison purposes, it is not an absolute measure as it can hide disparities as it does not state whether the income distribution is equitable or not. For the purpose of comparison, we are taking the Infant Mortality Rate, Literacy Rate and Net Attendance Ratio for the states of Haryana, Kerala, and Bihar. The following table gives the relevant details –

State Infant Mortality Rate per 1000 live births(2015-16) Literacy Rate %(2011) Net Attendance Ratio(per 100 persons) secondary stage (age 14 and 15 years) 2013-14
Haryana 36 82 61
Kerala 12 94 83
Bihar 42 62 43

On the basis of the above table, we can come to the following conclusions –

  • Kerala is the most developed between all three states, as not only does it have a low infant mortality rate, it has high levels of literacy along with a higher ratio of its population invested in secondary education.
  • Haryana comes next and measures should be taken to develop the state further.
  • Bihar is the least developed of all states. It has a high infant mortality rate showing that the population does not have access to proper healthcare. Lower levels of literacy along with low attendance for secondary education is halting its development process.

If we had only considered the state per capita incomes to judge the level of development in the states, Haryana would have been the most developed state and Bihar the least developed. But when we compare the other parameters of development, it is evident that although Haryana has the money, development processes are not being implemented in a manner which would aid its overall betterment. Kerala, with a lower per capita income, is managing its development better and thus outranking Haryana. Bihar, on the other hand, seems to be stuck in a vicious cycle where lower per capita income is lowering the development, while lower education and health levels are lowering the ability of its population to earn more. Thus, Bihar needs better policies to develop itself.

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