Foreign Affairs

UNDP Human Development Report 2010

Nepal one of the top HDI movers in last 40 years

In what appears as a feat, Nepal has succeeded to position itself in the top ten list of fastest movers in Human Development Index (HDI) in last 40 years. According to the Human Development Report (HDR) 2010 launched by United Nations Development Fund(UNDP) on Wednesday, Nepal is on third position in that list topped by Oman and followed by rising superpower China. In case of non income HDI, Nepal has grabbed the second position after Oman. The list of top movers from 1970 to 2010 in field of income sees China as the leader and India in tenth position.

This time UNDP, while celebrating 20th anniversary of HDR, has introduced three new indices to capture important aspects of the distribution of well-being for inequality, gender equity and poverty. HDR 2010 is prepared on the basis of Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI), Gender Inequality Index(GII) and Multidimensional Poverty Index(MPI) along with the previously used indices National Income, Literacy and Life expectancy. IHDI captures the losses in human development due to the inequality in health, education and income whilst GII reveals gender disparities in reproductive health, empowerment and labor market participation. MPI identifies overlapping deprivation as suffered by households in health, education and living standards.

According to the report, in last 5 years Nepal is elevated to 138th position in HDI climbing 5 positions. In 2005, HDI of Nepal was 0.400, 0.423 in 2009 and 0.428 in 2010. Though other countries in South Asia lag behind Nepal as top movers, apart from Afghanistan all are above Nepal in the HDI list. Bangladesh is in 129th position, Maldives in 107, India 119, Sri Lanka 91, Pakistan 125 and Afghanistan in 155th position.

The report shows that Nepal has the least Gross National Income(GNI) among the countries in South Asia. GNI per capita of Nepal is $ 1,201 which is less than that of India ($ 3,337), Afghanistan ($ 1,419), Bhutan ($ 5,607), Sri Lanka ($ 4,886), Maldives ($ 5,408), Pakistan ($ 2,678) and Bangladesh ($ 1,587).

The report reveals the Nepalese population in multidimensional poverty is 64.7%. The intensity of deprivation is 54.1% and population at risk of multidimensional poverty-15.6%. The national poverty line is 30.9% and population living below $ 1.25 per day -55.1%. The population with severe deprivation in education is 38%, health 58.3% and living standards 77.2%.

According to the report, adult literacy rate in Nepal is 57.9%. Nepal’s expenditure on health per capita is $ 53 and only 2 physicians are available for the population of 10,000. But in case of hospital beds per 10,000 people, Nepal has left big economies like China and India behind. Nepalese are exposed to the facilities of 50 beds per 10,000 people which is large enough in comparison to China(30), India(9), Pakistan(6), Sri Lanka(31), Maldives(26).

Infant mortality rate in Nepal declines to 41 per 1,000 live births while under five mortality rate is 51 per 1,000 live births. The HDR has also included the statistics on empowerment, sustainability and vulnerability, human security, perceptions of individual well-being and happiness, civic and community well-being, demographic trends, decent work, financial flows and commitments, economy and infrastructure as well as access to information and communication technology.

The report, prepared after the study of samples in 135 countries with 92% of world’s population, shows that Norway is on the top of HDI list. It has been evident from the report that some of the least developed countries have moved forward in thriving the health and education sector than the developed countries do. Only 3 countries from Africa-the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe have a lower HDI today than 40 years ago.