Why did human development fail to keep pace with economic development in India (Answer in 250 words) 15

Why did human development fail to keep pace with economic development in India? (Answer in 250 words) 15


Human development is characterized as the expansion of individuals’ freedoms and opportunities, leading to an enhancement of their well-being. According to IMF projections, India is well on track to emerge as the world’s third-largest economy by 2030. However, India was placed 132nd among 191 countries and territories in the 2021 Human Development Index (HDI). This underscores the disparity between human development and economic progress in India.


Factors Contributing to the Discrepancy Between Human Development and Economic Development in India

  • Educational Disparities: Despite an increasing literacy rate, the presence of over 1.2 million out-of-school students, particularly at the elementary level, highlights issues such as substandard education quality, insufficient infrastructure, and gender gaps.
  • Income Inequalities: Income inequalities act as a barrier, as access to vital resources such as healthcare and education depends largely on income levels.
  • Social Fragmentation: India’s persisting caste and communal divisions hinder the necessary social cohesion required for holistic progress across all societal segments.
  • Gender Disparities: Lingering gender disparities impede women’s access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, with discriminatory practices and societal norms restricting their full participation.
  • Deficiency in Skill Development: Inadequate investment in skill development and vocational training programs has resulted in a skills gap, limiting employment prospects for many.
  • Population Pressure: India’s rapid population growth strains resources and presents challenges in improving human development indices.
  • Low Public Investment: With meager allocations of around 2.1% and 2.9% of GDP for health and education respectively, India lags behind developed nations in public spending on critical sectors.
  • Infrastructural Gaps: Limited infrastructure, both digital and physical, hinders connectivity with marginalized communities, hampering their progress and development.
  • Top-Down Policy Focus: India’s historical emphasis on a top-down approach, while intending to benefit all, has often encountered issues of corruption and delays, impeding effective human development efforts.
  • Resource Mismanagement: Despite the presence of abundant resources in certain states like Jharkhand, mismanagement has hindered their optimal utilization for human development.
  • Inadequate Health Infrastructure: Insufficient emphasis on health infrastructure has contributed to the neglect of this crucial aspect of human development, often exacerbated by resource constraints.

Actions to Accelerate Human Development:

  • Strategic Investment in Human Capital: Prioritizing investments in health, education, and skill development can drive inclusive and sustainable growth, harnessing the potential of India’s evolving economic structure.
  • Enhanced Governance: Strengthening institutions, curbing corruption, and fostering transparency within government initiatives are critical for fostering effective governance.
  • Addressing Income Disparities: Implementing progressive tax policies, establishing social safety nets, creating job opportunities, and advocating for equitable wages, particularly for low-skilled and informal workers, can help mitigate income inequalities.


Paying attention to human development in India is crucial, given the significant proportion of the population living below the poverty line and the escalating income disparities. Despite India’s substantial economic progress since the LPG reforms, fostering a more equitable and sustainable growth trajectory necessitates additional economic and governance reforms, along with continued emphasis on enhancing education and skill development.

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