• 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



When India became independent in 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru stressed the importance of the task that lay ahead of ending poverty, ignorance, disease and inequality of opportunity. In view of these concerns, the Planning Commission of India was set up to formulate the country’s Five-Year Plans for assessing all the available resources, augmenting deficient resources, and for determining priorities. As the 1st Five-Year Plan (FYP) was launched, it however, did not spell out any specific planning strategy linking sectoral investment proposals to the objective of the Plan. However, in the 2nd FYP, the principles of ‘socialistic pattern of society’ underlay the planning strategy and emphasized social gain. It put stress on raising standards of living by raising national income through a rapid industrialization process with focus on heavy industry. This was expected to generate employment opportunities and reduce inequalities in society by trickling down benefits to the poorer sections in society.

During the 60s, 70s and 80s, the primary focus was, however, put on accelerating economic growth, savings and investments. This was nothing unique to India, but was the dominating approach to development in most developing countries, as the belief in the trickle-down effect to solve the issue of poverty was strong. The inadequacy of tackling poverty through this strategy was recognized by the Government of India: “The equity objective was sought to be pursued through redistribution of assets. But, land reforms could not be implemented effectively. The problem of poverty could not be tackled through growth, which itself was slow over a long period of time.”

During the 1990s, India introduced economic reforms, aiming at liberalizing the economy through various initiatives. Inspired by the publication of the first Global HDR, it was at the same time recognized that these liberalization efforts should be combined with a more direct focus on human development. Therefore, beginning with the 8th FYP, the Five-Year Plans have continued to be firmly set within the human development paradigm.

This focus on human development led to a greater emphasis on addressing inequalities amidst accelerated growth in the 2000s. Against this backdrop, several landmark rights-based legislation frameworks such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Right to Education, and Right to Information emerged as cornerstones of poverty reduction strategies.

Country flag
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