Every year, Global indexes are released by different international agencies to track the process of development in countries. Here, I have listed some of the major prominent indexes of the World and nowadays there are major debates around these indexes as they determine the relative power of a country in International arena as in Global politics, we should remember “Capabilities produces intentions”. Following are the various indexes with special emphasis on India and how India can improve in various sectors:
In the Global Hunger Index of 2020, India’s ranking is 94 among 107 countries pointing to an alarming situation as studies indicate that 14% of India’s population is under-nourished. Child wasting and stunting are the major causes of malnourishment in India and there are various socio-economic factors behind it- The major reason is Mother’s health who are themselves malnourished due to the prevalence of under-age marriages in India. India’s rank in GHI is lower than most of its South Asian neighbours- Pakistan (88), Nepal (73) and Sri Lanka (64).
In the Global Innovation Index, India is ranked 48th and is among the top nations in Central Asia and Southern Asia. GII is released jointly by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University and INSEAD Business School. There needs to be a paradigm shift in India’s approach which focuses greatly on innovation and technology. NEP 2020 will definitely bring a change in India’s educational pedagogy as it focuses on innovation and creative thinking among the students resulting in more research and development in various sectors as real life problems needs practical solutions.
India is ranked 139th among 163 countries in the Global Peace Index. It is released by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics & Peace. The countries are evaluated on various factors like- international and domestic conflict, militarisation and by the degree of security and safety in a society. In India, there are tensions between different political, religious and ethnic groups which sometimes cross all the boundaries of intolerance like during Delhi riots, CAA and the ensuing tensions between Hindus and Muslims. And to contribute to World Peace, all the countries need to work together in shaping a more peaceful world.
The Global Gender Gap Index is released by the World Economic Forum. It focuses on analysing gender gaps on access to education, health care facilities and presence in political space. India has been ranked 112th among 153 countries in the GGGI of 2019-2020. There is greatest gender disparity in Political empowerment as there are less women in leadership positions evident from the fact that right now only one state i.e. West Bengal has a woman CM. Health care sector also needs to be more gender inclusive, not only for women but also for LGBTQ+ community. Here we should remember the distinction b/w Gender (Socially constructed) and Sex (Biologically determined). WHO also emphasizes the importance of Gender analysis and gender responsive public health policies. Education enrolment also needs to be increased especially in higher education for girls and for LGBTQ+.
Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) is released by INSEAD business school in partnership with Adecco Group and Google. It evaluates the countries on parameters like ease of doing businesses, prevalence of training in firms and on other 70 variables. The theme for 2020 is on the role of Artificial intelligence in the 21st century where data is the new oil. Cause of concern to note is that rich-poor divide is widening and in the case of India due to rising unemployment and lack of appropriate skills among the youth is a major hurdle in the process of utilising the demographic dividend of India. There needs to be more internal openness as many countries find it difficult to invest in India due to complex bureaucratic procedures. India needs to improve on the ease of doing business as it will result in increasing foreign direct investment which will ultimately lead to development.
Corruption Perception Index is released by Transparency international. India has been ranked 80th among 180 countries. There is an urgent need by the Government of India to address the problem of corruption as it’s a major obstacle in creating a transparent society which is a major pillar of any democracy but due to increasing role of electoral bonds in elections, criminalisation of politics and election of corrupted politicians to power. Therefore increasing awareness among the masses is an effective solution as people are the change makers in a democracy.
Global Climate Risk Index, India bagged 5th position. India is more vulnerable due to heavy rainfalls, flooding as evident in states like Kerala and Orissa and also due to landslides & extreme weather conditions. To combat climate change, all countries need to join hands together as climate affects all and it needs a collaborative approach.
According to Ookla Speed test Global Index, India ranks 131 out of 138 in Global mobile internet speed ranking. Average download speed in India is 12.07 Mbps in contrast to the Global average of 35.96 Mbps. Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka are higher on the list. South Korea is ranked number 1. Thus more data is not equivalent to better data speed for sure. A stable Wi-Fi is still a distant dream from many in India and it becomes really important to address this problem as 21st century is the digital century. With the advent of COVID, this becomes more crucial as be it job or education; all is now operative on the internet.
Social mobility Index is released by The World Economic Forum. India’s rank is 76th among 82 countries. India needs to improve in the areas of social protection and fair wage distribution to create an egalitarian society where a person from every socio-economic background is able to avail equal opportunities. The gulf between the haves and have nots need to be reduced. Remember, Equality is like Gravity, it’s something which we need to stand as equals in this World. More focus should be on capability enhancement as proposed by Amartya Sen too that there needs to be equal development of capabilities.
Global happiness Index is released by the Sustainable development solutions network. It focuses on the subjective well-being across various cultures. This year the focus was on societal and environmental factors and India’s rank is 144, slipping 4 positions from 2019. Finland tops as the happiest country. Happiness is very subjective as it differs from individual to individual and it’s not surprising to note that India has been ranked among the unhappiest countries as stress levels are increasing day by day in India. Never has mental health featured in any political manifesto of India as if mental health is not important. Health is not just about being disease free, it includes physical, psychological and social well- being as well.
Global health security Index is released by the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security and the Economist Intelligence Unit. India is ranked 57th among 195 countries. Health is Wealth and a country with healthy citizens will develop faster than others. Therefore, focus should be on building robust health care systems in India and its importance is being realised in COVID-19 when all over the world, millions lost their lives due to weak health care systems. We should always be ready for health emergencies as prevention is better than cure. A change in approach can be helpful where every country should focus on Quality of health care and it should be made affordable also.
Global Press Freedom Index is released by the Paris based Reporters without borders. India is ranked 142nd out of 182 countries. Media is the fourth pillar of democracy. It acts as a major socializing agent because of its power to shape worldviews and build narratives. Free journalism is very important for a democracy as it lays the bedrock of free debates and discussions where topics concerning public are being discussed rather setting political agenda. With TRP scams, Public trust is being eroded. Hopefully, Media will take lesson from these TRP scams and work more freely without setting aside with any ideology or agenda.
Human Capital Index is released by World Bank annually. India has been ranked 116th among 174 countries. Due to COVID-19, economy has been affected very badly as due to lockdowns and complete shutdowns; many businesses have been impacted causing decrease in GDP. Poverty and food insecurity are looming large in today’s world calling for more pro-active response by various actors.
All these Global indexes are a reality check for India to measure its growth in the International arena. Improvement is the need of the hour and a multi- disciplinary approach can help India in achieving its goal. Resources are scarce but will optimisation of resources, all goals are achievable. A positive outlook and keeping learning based approach; India can improve its strategy on various matters. There should be more exchanges in every sphere with more advanced economies of the World so that all can learn from each other’s experiences.