Ultimate growth is human development: Kaushik Basu

Reacting to the latest UNDP Human Development Report that has placed India at the 119th rank among 165 nations, Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu on Thursday said that country's goal was to improve overall human development and not merely ensure economic growth.

"The ultimate growth is human development, not only economic growth," Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu said during the launch of the the report here by the United Nations Development Programme.

He, however, added that economic growth and rise in income levels were necessary for carrying out human development initiatives like providing access to education and health, gender equality, poverty eradication and so on.

According to the Human Development Report 2010, released today across the world, India at the 119th position is way below China (89th spot) and Sri Lanka (91).

Though the country showed impressive GDP growth, a comparatively poor social development level has led to India's relegation to the lowly position, much below China, Russia, and Brazil.

"Economic growth is an important cause of human development indicators and so it is important...(however) we are doing worse in terms of human development while we have grown economically," Basu said.

He especially termed "bad news" the country's performance in the social indicators.

During the last 40 years, life expectancy at birth in India has improved by 16 years, in line with the trend in South Asia, but less than the 23 years in Bangladesh.

Besides, eight Indian states with a combined population of 421 million have poverty rates similar to 26 of the poorest countries in Africa.

The average time a kid will spend in school in India is 4.4 years, less than the 4.8 years in Bangladesh or 4.9 years in Pakistan.

In the gender inequality index, India comes at 122 out of 138 countries studied. Bangladesh and Pakistan are ranked above India at 116th and 112nd positions, respectively.

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