What's India's Real Rank in the World?

By Ashwin Tombat
05 November 2017 16:27 IST

There's a sense of triumph in the air. India has jumped 30 spots to secure a place among the top 100 countries on the World Bank's 'Ease of Doing Business' ranking in 2018. Historically, India was around 140. Two years ago we made it to 131, then 130. This year, we jumped 30 points to 100.

It's the highest ever jump in this World Bank ranking, said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during a press conference on Tuesday. An impressive achievement.

But not everyone in India is a businessman. So let's take a look at some other rankings.

India has fallen 21 places in its overall 'Global Gender Gap Index' ranking. This report ranks 144 countries on how they are bringing equality between men and women in education, economics, health and politics. Neighbour Bangladesh, at rank 47, is the only South Asian country in the top 100. India ranks a lowly 108, with Pakistan at 143.

The 'Global Hunger Index Report' of the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ranks India at 100 out of 119 countries, three places down from 97 last year. This index ranks countries on undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting. India's rank is not only below China (29), but lower than our smaller neighbours Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Sri Lanka (84) and Bangladesh (88). It is behind even war torn Iraq (78) and isolated North Korea (93), but ahead of Pakistan (106) and Afghanistan (107).

Leading medical journal 'Lancet' in its Global Burden of Disease report says that India (44.8) ranks 154 out of 195 countries in terms of access to healthcare. Here too, we're behind Sri Lanka (72.8), Bangladesh (51.7), Bhutan (52.7) and Nepal (50.8), and only above Pakistan (43.1) and Afghanistan (32.5).

The World Economic Forum's 'Inclusive Development Index' list for the year 2017 has India in 60th position among 79 developing countries. It measures how successful a country has been in raising economic growth and reducing inequality at the same time. Not just China (15), but Bangladesh (36) and even Pakistan (52) are ahead of India.  

A United Nations report places India at 131st position among 188 countries surveyed for Human Development. India has made no improvement in its ranking. The report places Asia's third-largest economy in the same bracket as much smaller neighbours like Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal. Sri Lanka (73) is better placed than both India and China (90).

The 'SDG Index and Dashboards Report' produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung — which measures progress towards global sustainable development goals — ranks India at 116, behind countries such as Nepal, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and China. Pakistan is ranked 122.

According to Nandan Nilekani, now back as head of IT giant Infosys, India's greatest asset is its 'demographic dividend' — in an aging world, it's a nation of young people. But in a scathing commentary on how India is handling its greatest asset, the World Economic Forum’s 'Global Human Capital Index 2017' ranks India 103rd among 130 countries. It's behind all G20 nations, lowest among BRICS nations, and doesn't stand out even in its own neighbourhood of South Asia.

And last but not least, India ranks 122nd out of 155 countries in the 'World Happiness Report 2017', four places below its previous rank of 118. It's behind even terror-riven Pakistan and poorest-of-poor Nepal in the global list of the happiest countries. Pakistan is 80th, Nepal 99th, Bhutan 97th and Bangladesh 110th, while Sri Lanka is 120th.  

India has definitely improved its performance greatly in one subject. But all students and their parents know that to get a top rank, one must score well in all subjects. Mr Modi and Mr Jaitley should be congratulated for their determination to put India in the top 50 for ease of doing business next year. But how about also improving India's scores in reducing hunger and inequality, closing the gender gap, improving access to healthcare and, most important of all, increasing happiness in the year to come?

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

Blogger's Profile

Ashwin Tombat

Ashwin Tombat has been the Editor of Gomantak Times and Herald. Worked as an Associate Editor of national magazine Gentleman in Mumbai, before shifting to Goa. Loves sailing, also participates in Marathons. Has worked as an activist in students's union and trade unions in Maharashtra. Also an artist of Street Theatre during student days.

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