Himachal Pradesh Human Development Index,
Human Development: Concept and Introduction:
Human Development has been defined as the‘process of enlarging people’s choices’. The mostcritical ones are to be able to lead a long andhealthy life, to be educated and to enjoy a decentstandard of living. Additional choices includepolitical freedom, guaranteed human rights andself-respect
In relation to human development, the keydimensions of human rights include the promotionof gender equity and economic, social andcultural rights — particularly those pertainingto health care, food, water, education, environmentand culture.
This approach is one of the attempts to formulatealternative development theories andstrategies to replace the neo-classical approachwhose objective is economic growth,which treats people as ‘resources’, a means to anend. In contrast, ‘human development’ denotesboth the process of widening people’s choices andthe level of their achieved ‘well-being’. It alsohelps distinguish between the formation of humancapabilities, such as improved health orknowledge, and the use that people make of theiracquired capabilities — for both work and leisure.
The concept, messages and measures ofhuman development were introduced and carriedforward in the UNDP’s Global HumanDevelopment Reports (HDRs). The first HDRwas published in 1990. These HDRs, pioneeredby the late MahbubulHaq (Pakistan) and AmartyaSen (India),have stimulated world-wide discussions andhave led to what is now called the ‘human development movement’. This movement includesinternational and national governments,policy makers, planners, opinion leaders, parliamentarians,media, NGOs and various membersof civil society.
The HDRs have proposed composite indicesthat go beyond income based measures. TheHuman Development Index (HDI), the GenderDevelopment Index (GDI), the Gender EmpowermentMeasure (GEM) and the HumanPoverty Index (HPI) have been introduced invarious HDRs since 1990. The methodologyused has been evolved after taking into accountthe need to strike a balance between indicatorsthat capture the complexity of human development,gender development, gender empowermentand human poverty. It avoids the inclusionof too many indicators that could produce a perplexingpicture. With all the limitations that areintrinsic to simple indices and averages, thesecomposite indices have helped in highlightingthe need to remove human deprivation on apriority basis.
The HDRs have also been instrumental inthe shift from advocacy to action at the nationallevel. The preparation of National Human DevelopmentReports in various countries of theworld, has contributed to the identification andmonitoring of national and sub-national humandevelopment targets, the tracking of developmentgaps and their impact on constituentgroups — especially the vulnerable — and thearticulation and assessment of viable strategiesfor achieving development goals. The reportsare effective tools in the formulation of nationaldevelopment strategies and specific action plansand programmes — including those related topoverty reduction and more effective developmentassistance.
State Human Development Reports:
In a large country like India, the need toassess the status of human development at the State level has been the motivation behindthe decision of the State Governmentsto prepare ‘State Human Development Reports’ (SHDRs).The process of preparation of the StateHDRs can provide disaggregated data andindicators. This permits policy makers toidentify with greater precision the criticalrequirements that are specific to particulardistricts, blocks and communities. Thus, theSHDRs represent a tool for policy interventionsand can help in directing and focusingpublic investment towards the provision ofbasic minimum services, and can strengthensocial capital — especially in the backwardStates and regions.The State Governments have been encouraged by the United Nations DevelopmentProgramme (UNDP) and thePlanning Commission (now NITI Aayog) of the Governmentof India, to embark on the preparation ofState level HDRs. The principles followedby the UNDP and Planning Commission intheir co-operation with the State governmentsare:
(a) Government ownership.
(b) The analysis and contents of the HDRshould be undertaken by an independentteam of experts at the behest of the Stategovernment.
(c) Integrity and coherence in the contentsof the HDRs and addition of value toitsusers.
(d) Commitment to the widespread disseminationand discussion of the State HDRsmaking use of a variety of methods.
(e) Cost-effectiveness in the preparation ofthe HDRs.
The Himachal Pradesh Human Development Report:
Himachal Pradesh has consistently improved its position on several indicators over time. In its early years, due to geo-morphological, financial limitations and poorly developed infrastructure, Himachal Pradesh was rankednear the bottom for per capita income across states. Gradually Himachal Pradesh increased its per capita income to a middle rank in the late 1990s (Himachal Pradesh Human Development Report 2002). In the last decade (2000–2009), the NSDP per capita of Himachal Pradesh was higher than the national per capita income. However, the growth of NSDP per capita for the state in the last five years was slightly less than India’s per capita income. Its per capita NSDP growth rate has been consistently higher than thatof the other hilly stateslike Jammu and Kashmir.
There is huge regional disparity within the state.Himachal Pradesh can broadly be divided into two distinctregions based on geo-morphological and climatic features.One is characterized by high mountains and is called the‘High Mountain Horse Shoe (HMHS)’ region and itcomprises seven districts. The second region has plains,wide valleys and low hills, and is known as the ‘Low Hillsand Plains (LHP)’ region, and it comprises five districts. In terms of development the LHP region is well ahead of the HMHS region because of its close proximity to the relatively developed parts of Punjab and Haryana. Most food grain production and industrial output comes from the LHP districts (Himachal Pradesh Human Development Report 2002).
The Himachal Pradesh HDR attempts to assessand explain the status of human development inthe State and articulate policy implications. Inthe light of the definition of human development issues related to health, education, environmentand gender have been considered.
The analysis moves from the State levelto the district level.The analysis of data begins from 1971 for comparabilityreasons — though an attempt has beenmade to cover the socio-economicconditions prevailing during the period between1948 and 1971. The period between the formationof the State in 1948, and extending to 1966,has in fact, been characterised by the accretionof new areas and additional population. In 1971,Himachal Pradesh attained Statehood.
The Himachal Pradesh Human Development Report of 2002 is the first Human Development Report for the state. The Report focuses on poverty reduction, governance, sustainable livelihoods, and issues of HIV/AIDS. The Report outlines factors contributing to previous successes, particularly in the areas of health, education, and infrastructure, as well as persistent development challenges. Issues of health, education, income, and natural resources are specified. Challenges of inequality pertaining to gender cut across all issues and are also mentioned in the report. Himachal Pradesh has made considerable progress since its recognition as a state in 1971, but the state recognizes that major development concerns persist. Poverty, environment, and gender remain among the primary development concerns for Himachal Pradesh.
Few facts and statistic:
- Focusing, first of all, on the broad macroeconomic changes, it is noted that the growth rate of real per capita income in the decade of the 1970s was relatively low and stood at a mere 0.44 per cent per annum. This accelerated considerably to 3.88 per cent in the decade of the 1980s and decelerated somewhat sharply to 2.27 per cent in the 1990s.
- At 63 per cent, Himachal Pradesh has the highest rural female work participation rates among states, leaving the second ranking state Tamil Nadu with 43 per cent far behind. It stands second in urban female work participation rates (28 per cent) along with Tamil Nadu, snipping at the heels of Kerala, which logs 29 per cent.
- In the matter of literacy, Himachal Pradesh seems to have started from a situation in the early 1950s which may well be termed as dismal. In the ‘old’ Himachal Pradesh, the 1951 population census revealed an overall literacy ratio of just 4.8 per cent and the female literacy ratio stood at a mere 2 per cent. The figure was the lowest among all the States and Union Territories of the country. The trend in the growth of literacy even in 1971, the total literacy ratio was only 32 per cent and at that time, just about a fifth of the females were literate. Two decades later, in 1991, the total literacy ratio had climbed to 63.9 per cent, with even the female literacy rate having made a significant gain and rising to 52.1 per cent. It is noteworthy that in this respect the State rose from the bottom of the pile, to emerge as the fifth most literate State of the Indian Union by 1991.
- Among the northern Indian states, Himachal Pradesh has the lowest share of individuals with no education. In 2011, less than one-third of its rural population had no education, against two-fifths or half in the case of its neighbouring states. It also had the highest proportion of residents with post-secondary education across northern states.
- Between 1993-94 and 2011, Himachal Pradesh has clocked a four-fold reduction in the rural poor – poverty levels dropped from 36.8 per cent to 8.5 per cent during this period. The decline has been sure and steady.
- In terms of sex-ratio, Himachal Pradesh is one of the best performing states with 974 females per 1,000 males, against the 940 females per 1,000 males at all India level in 2011. However, its child sex-ratio is very low with 906 girls per 1,000 boys, which is a matter of serious concern (Census 2011).
- Himachal Pradesh has a very small proportion of people living below the poverty line (only 10 per cent). The low incidence of poverty is the result of a prosperous rural economy, a high level of per capitagovernment expenditure, greater women’s participation in the workforce and strong local institutions, in addition to high out-migration and the consequent repatriations(Himachal Pradesh Human Development Report 2002).
One of the biggest advantages Himachal Pradesh has is its special category status which means it got more funds. But, experts say, “Money does not always mean good outcomes”. Himachal Pradesh used the money it got to invest massively in two things. One was physical infrastructure, especially roads and power. State governments realised that the desired health and education outcomes would not come without roads and power.
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