India rejects World Bank's HCI report over data gaps

New Delhi, Oct 12
The Central government on Thursday rejected the findings of the World Bank's Human Capital Index (HCI), which has placed the country at 115th position out of 157 countries on various parameters, such as survivability measured by under-five mortality rate.

"The government of India, therefore, has decided to ignore the HCI and will continue to undertake its path-breaking programmes for human capital development aiming to rapidly transforming quality and ease of life for all its children," the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

The HCI has been constructed for 157 countries. It claims to seek to measure the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect on attaining the age of 18.

The HCI index values are contended to convey the productivity of the next generation of workers, compared to a benchmark of complete standard education and full health.

"There are serious reservations about the advisability and utility of this exercise of constructing HCI," the statement said.

"There are major methodological weaknesses, besides substantial data gaps. For instance, for the schooling parameter, though quantity is assessed using enrolment rates reported by UNESCO, quality is gauged using harmonised test scores from major international student achievement testing programmes."

According to the HCI, a child born in India 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 HCI in India for females is marginally better than that for males," the report said.

On the probability of survival up to the age of 5, the report said it is "96 out of 100 children born in India".

The report pointed out that in India, "a child who starts school at age of 4 can expect to complete 10.2 years of school by her 18th birthday".

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