• 0.62

    Gender Inequality Index

  • 10.7%

    Proportion of Seats Held by Women in Parliament

  • 0.33

    Human Development Index for SC

  • 0.27

    Human Development Index for ST

  • 21.02%

    Proportion of Land Area Covered by Forest

  • 1.37

    CO Emission Per Capital (Metric Tons)

  • 62.8%

    Adult Literacy Rate

  • 0.1%

    HIV Prevalence Youth (ages 15-24)

About India


Persistent inequality is reflected in the low human development attainments of the country’s most marginalized groups including scheduled castes, tribal and rural populations, women, transgenders, men who have sex with men, people living with HIV and migrants.

An estimated 2.24 million people live with HIV in India, and among the most visible of sexual minority groups, transgender remain largely invisible, isolated and subject to stereotypes. While new infections have declined by more than 50 percent in the past decade, states with low prevalence such as Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal now account for 41 percent of new infections. According to the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the HIV epidemic has been increasingly feminized. In addition, the HIV epidemic in several states in the north and north-east of the country point to strong links between poverty, migration and HIV.

Gender inequality in India persists despite high rates of economic growth with the outcomes lower among Dalits and Adivasis. Participation of women in employment and decision-making remains far less than that of men and the disparity is not likely to be eliminated by 2015. India’s poor performance on women’s empowerment and gender equality is reflected in many indicators, the most telling of which is the sex ratio which has in some parts of India dropped to 833 females per 1000 males. Gender inequality is also reflected in India’s low rank on the Gender Inequality Index, which is 129 out of 146 countries with a value of 0.617. In fact, among the South Asian countries, India is second from the bottom, just above Afghanistan.

The effectiveness of rights-based legislations such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Forest Rights Act and Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas has been hampered by weak implementation. India’s poor record on governance is reflected in its 87th rank on the corruption perception index among 178 countries with a value of 3.3 on a scale of 1 to 10 in 2010. Sustained focus on attaining high GDP growth rates with inadequate attention given to the pattern and inclusiveness of growth lies at the heart of India’s paradox.

Growth rates, inclusiveness and sustainability are further constrained by the impact of climate change and vulnerability to disasters. In fact, India is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world with the country losing about two percent of its GDP to disasters. Around 68 percent of cultivable land in India is prone to drought of varying intensities and around 12 percent of total land is flood prone. Diverse factors, natural and human induced, adverse geo-climatic conditions, topographic features, environmental degradation, population growth, urbanization, industrialization and unscientific development practices play a huge role in accelerating the intensity and frequency of disasters resulting in huge economic losses and human casualties. With close to 533 million or 40 percent of the population expected to live in urban areas by 2025, the vulnerability of India’s cities to hazards is also likely to increase.

While India is the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG), per capita GHG emissions are amongst the lowest in the world. The challenge is to simultaneously and sustainably reduce the GHG intensity of growth while improving the access of people living in poverty to clean, sustainable and affordable energy. Much of India’s efforts to bring close to 400 million people on-grid will depend on its ability to harness renewable energy and achieve greater energy efficiency in a range of energy intensive sectors. As the second most disaster-prone country globally, vulnerable communities especially women lack the capacity to cope and adapt in the face of natural disasters, climate change and extreme weather events.

India is also one of the 17 mega-diverse countries, with four global biodiversity hotspots. However, 41 percent of forest cover in India is considered degraded. Of India’s land area of around 230 million hectares, about 188 million hectares is degraded.

Country map
New Delhi
1.21 billion
Area (in sq. km)
Area (in sq. mi)
Poverty Rate
Per Capital Income
US$ 1,330
Human Development Index