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Corrigendum - 26 March 2011

Monday 28 March 2011

In Suranjita Ray’s article “MDGs : India Has A Long Way To Go” (Mainstream, March 12, 2011) large portions under the subheading “The Paradox High Growth and Low Development” have been deleted on page 17 due to a technological error.

The first two paras under the subheading on page 17 should read as follows:

The Paradox: High Growth and Low Development

DESPITE emerging as a powerful nation in South Asia, with an economy growing at eight per cent, India ranks much low in terms of the development indicators. The HDR 2010 places India at 119 in the Human Development Index out of 169 countries. By adding the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI), the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) and the Gender Inequality Index as indicators to measure development in countries, the Report captures the inequalities on several fronts. Countries which are more unequal (in health, education and income) score less than countries which are less unequal. Despite impressive economic growth, inequality is on the rise and India loses 30 per cent in the overall IHDI, including 41 per cent in education and 31 per cent in health. Though it is ranked amongst the ‘Medium Human Development’ category, around 55 per cent of its population suffer from multiple deprivations and an additional 16 per cent are vulnerable to deprivation. While economists point out the flaws in the application of the index due to measurement errors and biases, the Report has made some innovations in measuring development. By reconfiguring its indicators
on literacy and income and replacing ‘gross enrolment’ and ‘adult literacy rate’ with the ‘expected years of schooling’ and ‘mean years of schooling’, it tells us that the rising literacy rates are no satisfactory achievement as the ‘mean years of schooling’ is only 4.4 compared to the global figure which is 7.4 and the ‘expected years of schooling’ is 10.3 which is less than the global average of 12.3. (Also see Ram 2010b: 10) The ‘Gross Domestic Product’ is replaced by ‘Gross National Income’ that includes the international income flows, which is important in the globalising context of India’s poverty reduction programme. The new Gender Inequality Index highlights the gaps in reproductive health, empowerment, work force participation and education.

While India’s major contribution to global poverty reduction is acknowledged by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Report on MDGs, within the country the measureable outcomes of an increasing number of beneficiaries of several Poverty Alleviation Programmes and the official estimates of decline in poverty are contested. Poverty is pocketed in certain regions and certain sections of society battle hunger for generations. The study by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative using a Multi-dimensional Poverty Index, identifying serious simultaneous deprivations in health, education and income at the household level shows that 421 million poor live under the MPI in eight States of India such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. This is higher than the 410 million poor living in 26 poorest African nations. (OPHI and UNDP, HDR 2010)

This error is regretted. —Editor