Even after 27 years, Odisha languishes in bottom-5 in Human Development Index

Bhubaneswar: Even after a decade-and-a half have elapsed, a reality check for Odisha’s rank in Human Development Index (HDI) is nothing less than shocking. For,  it still lies in the bottom five among 25 states in the country . The State did post a jump of around 50 per cent in the 2017 HDI score vis-a-vis 1990, but the leap is just enough to see Odisha move up the HDI ladder by a mere one rank to rise to 22 from 23 in 1990. The rank of 22 among 25 States reflects Odisha’s very poor standing in HDI. And it also indicates how bumpy the road ahead is for Odisha.

According to the sub-national  HDI developed by SBI research team led by Dr Soumya Kanti Ghosh that was released on Saturday, Odisha was assigned a score of 0.60 points in 2017 HDI from 0.40 points in 1990 HDI. Significantly, when Odisha was among the bottom five in 1990, some peer States from southern India like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, who were ranked higher at 11th and 16th, respectively, in 1990, have shown an improvement of 4 ranks in 2017. In contrast, despite being in bottom 5, Odisha could post a rise of mere one rank. The report, however, listed Odisha among the 10 states in country that have shown a rise in HDI rank.

The SBI HDI finds that compared to 1990, the per capita income of Odisha by year 2017 has improved by four ranks. What does it mean? Among major States, Odisha  in the year 1990, was at the bottom of per capita income indicator in the country, but in 2017 the rise in State’ s per capita income propelled it to fifth rank from bottom. Odisha, thus, was moved up by 4 ranks. With a per capita income of Rs 80,991  in 2017-18, Odisha’s per capita income is only ahead of States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. However, Madhya Pradesh per capita income is almost equal to that of Odisha, whereas per capita income of States like Assam, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh are higher. The rise in per capita income of Odisha is attributed to smart growth in 2016-17 onwards. Per capita income of Odisha posted an increase of 9 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively , in 2016-17 and 2017-18. Till 2015-16, the year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in per capita income averaged at around 4 – 5 per cent. In contrast, West Bengal posted 35 per cent rise in per capita income and Chhattisgarh by 28 per cent during the period 2014-18.

According to an analysis by Policy Research Study (PRS), the expenditure by Odisha on human development during last decade  (2011-19) has been around 23 per cent of the total budgeted expenditure, whereas Delhi spends the highest of around 37 per cent. The inference is human development indicators of Odisha are far poorer than Delhi, and Odisha has to catch up with Delhi to post smart rise in HDI ranks. The sub-national HDI developed by SBI described health, education, water supply and sanitation as the lifelines of HDI. Data shows mixed results in spending by Odisha on the vital HDI indicators. While spending on education in Odisha dipped to around 15 per cent in 2015-19 from around 17 per cent in 2011-15, expenditure on health was up at 4.9 per cent in 2015-19 from 3.7 per cent in 2011-15. In water supply and sanitation, the expenses inched up to 3.6 per cent from 2.2 per cent in 2011-15. The per capita expenditure on education at Rs 6,310 is still below the national average; whereas with Rs 770 per capita health expenditure Odisha matches with national average.