Govt takes umbrage at HCI that scores India at 0.44; decides to ignore it

The finance ministry in a strongly worded statement has questioned HCI that ranked Singapore on top with a score of 0.88.

The first Human Capital Index (HCI), compiled by the World Bank as part of the World Development Report 2019, has not found favour with the Government of India that has raised “serious reservations” over the country being ranked at 115 position in the index. India’s score of 0.44 on a scale of 0 to 1 is even below the average score for South Asia.
 
The finance ministry in a strongly worded statement has questioned HCI that ranked Singapore on top with a score of 0.88. “There are serious reservations about the advisability and utility of this exercise of constructing HCI. There are major methodological weaknesses, besides substantial data gaps,” the ministry has stated.  
 
The HCI covered 157 countries and was aimed at measuring the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18. The index values represent the productivity of the next generation of workers, compared to a benchmark of complete standard education and full health. The three components of HCI are – survival, expected years of quality adjusted school, and health environment.  
 
The Index was published at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group in Bali Nusa Dua, Indonesia. The HCI shows that for 56 per cent of the world’s population HCI score is at or below 0.50; and for 92 per cent it is at or below 0.75. 
 
This implies that only 8 per cent of the global population can expect to be 75 per cent as productive as they could be. In the case of India, given its score of 0.44, a child born today will be only 44 per cent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health. 
 
The index shows learning adjusted years of school at an average of only 5.8 years and total expected years of school at 10.2 years. On the harmonised test scores matrix, students in India score 355 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment.  
 
Probability of survival to age 5 is 96 out of 100. It finds 38 out of 100 children are stunted, and so are at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that can last a lifetime. 
 
The Government of India has rejected these findings as it feels the HCI does not take into account the key initiatives being taken to develop human capital in the country, such as Samagra Shiksha, Ayushman Bharat Programme, Swachh Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jandhan Yojana and the Aadhaar identification system­ enabled direct cash transfer. 
 
These initiatives, the Government says, have improved governance and social protection. The government statement said: “The qualitative aspects of improved governance that have a strong correlation with human capital development cannot be and have not been captured by the way the HCI has been constructed…The Government of India, therefore, has decided to ignore the HCI.”
 
Source: Media reports 
 

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