Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The HDI report card

The Human Development Report 2006 makes for grim reading for Pakistanis. Based on statistics from 2004 - five years into the Musharraf regime - the country has limped to 0.537 on the Human Development Index which gives it a rank of 134th out of 177 countries.

From the Pakistan Fact Sheet:

"The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and enrolment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income).

"The HDI measures the average progress of a country in human development. The Human Poverty Index for developing countries (HPI-1), focuses on the proportion of people below a threshold level in the same dimensions of human development as the human development index - living a long and healthy life, having access to education, and a decent standard of living.

"The HPI-1 value for Pakistan, 36.3, ranks 65th among 102 developing countries for which the index has been calculated.

"The gender-related development index (GDI), introduced in Human Development Report 1995, measures achievements in the same dimensions using the same indicators as the HDI but captures inequalities in achievement between women and men. It is simply the HDI adjusted downward for gender inequality. The greater the gender disparity in basic human development, the lower is a country's GDI relative to its HDI.

"Pakistan’s GDI value, 0.513 should be compared to its HDI value of 0.539. Its GDI value is 95.2% of its HDI value. Out of the 136 countries with both HDI and GDI values, 132 countries have a better ratio than Pakistan's.

"The gender empowerment measure (GEM) reveals whether women take an active part in economic and political life. It tracks the share of seats in parliament held by women; of female legislators, senior officials and managers; and of female professional and technical workers- and the gender disparity in earned income, reflecting economic independence. Differing from the GDI, the GEM exposes inequality in opportunities in selected areas.

"Pakistan ranks 66th out of 75 countries in the GEM, with a value of 0.377."

It is worth noting the gender empowerment measure (GEM) amongst all these depressing statistics. Pakistan's ranking of 66th out of 75 comes despite having a generous 1/3 of reserved seats for women in parliament and a sizable percentage of reserved seats in the local government structure. The presence of women in the legislature is largely a token gesture ( indeed, the MMA-nominated women parliamentarians, in a singular act of self-loathing, have urged the government to send female legislators back to their homes) and if the measure is taken out, Pakistan would probably finish at the bottom of the pile.

Most worryingly, Pakistan's HDI trend has been falling behind the South Asian trend since 2000.

Read the full report here.

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