Bangladesh moves one step ahead in HDI
Bangladesh went up one spot ahead to 135 among 189 countries in the 2019 Human Development Index (HDI), according to a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched on Wednesday.
The country ranked higher than neighboring Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but ranked lower than Sri Lanka, India and Bhutan.
Last year, Bangladesh was ranked 136.
Planning Minister MA Mannan along with General Economics Division (GED) member of the Planning Commission Dr Shamsul Alam, Planning Secretary Muhammad Nurul Amin, UNDP's Resident Representative Sudipto Mukerjee, country's renowned economists Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman and Dr Fahmida Khatun, among others, jointly unveiled the cover of the Human Development Report 2019.
The Report titled "Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st century" was launched at the NEC Conference Room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Speaking on the occasion, the Planning Minister said the government wants to eradicate poverty from the country. "It seems we've been able to subdue our enemy (poverty) as the poverty rate has now come down to around 20 percent from the earlier around 42 percent. The pace in poverty reduction is good and we're putting due emphasis on addressing the loopholes."
Answering a query, Mannan said over the last nearly 11 years of the Awami League government, the per capita income has increased by four times while no one in the country now goes to sleep starving. "We're doing well gradually in comparison to our neighbors."
Chairman of the PKSF Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad underscored the need for giving due importance to innovation side by side making necessary investment in research and development.
He also opined that the GDP growth would be meaningless if inequality in the country is not reduced.
Noting that the increasing size of national budget is strength for the government and also for the country, Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman said ensuring efficiency of the development expenditure is also an important issue.
Zillur also stressed the need for finding out the new growth drivers for Bangladesh for the next 5 to 10 years.
The report showed that the steady progress of Bangladesh in the HDI was due to development, which had witnessed a reduction in poverty, along with gains in life expectancy, education, and access to health care.
Bangladesh's HDI value for 2018 is 0.614 - which put the country in the medium human development category.
Between 1990 and 2018, Bangladesh's HDI value increased from 0.388 to 0.614, a 58.3 percent increase.
Between 1990 and 2018, Bangladesh's life expectancy at birth increased by 14.1 years, mean years of schooling increased by 3.2 years and expected years of schooling increased by 5.6 years. Bangladesh's GNI per capita increased by about 198.7 percent between the same years.
The HDI measures the average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development-life expectancy, education and per capita income.
Norway, Switzerland, Ireland held the top three positions in that order. Germany placed fourth along with Hong Kong, and Australia was ranked fifth.
Sri Lanka (71) and China (85) are higher up the rank scale, while India (129), Bhutan (134), Myanmar (145), Nepal (147), Pakistan (152) and Afghanistan (170) were lower on the list.
As per the HDI, no other region, except South Asia, had experienced such rapid human development progress. The report said South Asia was the fastest growing region in human development progress witnessing a 46 percent growth between 1990-2018, followed by East Asia and the Pacific at 43 percent.
Bangladesh's HDI value is 0.614, but it is below the average of 0.634 for countries in the medium human development group and below the average of 0.642 for countries in South Asia.
When the value is discounted for inequality, the HDI of Bangladesh falls to 0.465, a loss of 24.3 percent due to inequality.
When comes to the Gender Inequality Index (GII), Bangladesh's value is 0.536, ranking 129 out of 162 countries in the 2018 index.
In the GII, India is at 122, Sri Lanka at 86, Bhutan at 99 and Myanmar at 106.