Polity & Governance Prelims cum Mains

Govt to ignore World Bank’s HCI

The news:
  • The government has decided to ignore the World Bank’s human capital index (HCI) saying the score for India does not reflect the key initiatives that are being taken for developing human capital in the country.
Human Capital Index (HCI):
  • The World Bank’s first report on Human Capital Index (HCI) was released recently listing 157 countries.
  • It seeks to measure the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by the age 18 years.
  • The HCI has three components which include
    1. Survival, as measured by under-5 mortality rates
    2. Education using expected years of quality-adjusted school
    3. Health using two proxies: adult survival rates and the rate of stunting for children under age 5.
  • It placed India at the 115th position, lower than Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • Singapore topped the poll after it was highly rated for its universal healthcare system, education exams results and life expectancy figures.
  • It is followed by South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Finland
India rejected the report:
  • India rejected the report, with the Finance Ministry saying the HCI score for India does not reflect the key initiatives that are being taken for developing human capital in the country.
  • The Government of India, therefore, has decided to ignore the HCI and will continue to undertake its path breaking programme for human capital development aiming to rapidly transforming quality and ease of life for all its children.
Initiatives cited:
  • The Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan has been launched to focus on access and quality of education for the benefit of 197 million school children.
  • Through the Ayushman Bharat Programme, India has now launched the world’s largest Health Insurance initiative providing 500 million citizens with adequate health coverage.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has reduced drudgery and improved the health of about 38 million women by providing them with LPG connection to replace firewood and coke based cooking stoves
  • Pradhan Mantri Jandhan Yojana has provided access to formal banking services to over 328 million persons.
  • Financial inclusion and the Aadhaar identification system has enabled India to make direct cash transfer of about USD 64 billion to citizens, thus improving governance and social protection.
Weaknesses in the methodology:
  • The government noted that there are major methodological weaknesses, besides substantial data gaps.
  • Example of complexity in schooling parameter:
    • For the schooling parameter, though quantity is assessed using enrolment rates reported by Unesco, quality is gauged using harmonised test scores from major international student achievement testing programmes.
    • However, there is lack of availability of an authoritative and uniform test score, leading to usage of about nine different test scores and systems using varying methodology.
    • The methodology is quite complex and nonuniform.

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