India Improves by 2.29 Points on the Social Progress Index in the Last Five Years

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The report released by the Social Progress Imperative analyses the social progress performance of 146 countries across five years (2014-2018)

Overall the world is getting better, with 133 of the 146 countries seeing overall improvements in social progress, with the greatest gains being recorded in parts of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

The highest improvements are registered in the shelter, access to information and communications, and access to advanced education, all of which improved by three or more points in the past five years

Norway tops the 2018 Social Progress Index ranking scoring 90.26/100, boasting strong performance across all the components of the index.

India has improved its performance by 2.29 points since 2014 and is now ranked at 100th position.

The results show that poorer countries are improving faster than the richer countries. All of the 30 highest ranked countries on the Social Progress Index are high income, but just two of them, Luxembourg and South Korea, experienced significant improvement since 2014. In contrast, the countries that have improved the most over the past five years are low and lower –middle income: Nepal, Ethiopia, Ghana and Pakistan

The study analyses the social progress of 146 countries by applying the Social Progress Index framework, that uses social and environmental indicators. The framework outlines three broad categories of social progress, Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing and Opportunity. It captures whether the citizens have access to safe and livable housing facilities; the water and sanitary conditions up to the standards or people are prone to diseases like typhoid; is the medical system in place benefitting all the sections of society or citizens still lack in basic nutritional values; do they feel protected in their home place, or there is a need to tackle security concerns in a better way; can they have a prolonged life or are their actions.

The Index is more than just a measurement tool and is aimed towards helping the government and businesses to make strategic choices. It can help the policymakers by not only guiding the public investments but also by providing a rapid-assessment approach to help capture the spirit of the SDGs as there is a strong coherence between the SDGs and the Social Progress Index.

The overall results reveal that the population-weighted world score on the Social Progress Index rose from 61.80/100 in 2014 to 63.46/100 in 2018 – a 1.66-point increase. The largest improvements are registered in the shelter, access to information and communications, and access to advanced education and the world scores on Personal Rights and Inclusion have declined.

Commenting on the Global results, CEO of the SPI Michael Green said: “There seems to be a progress paradox in how the quality of life is changing around the world. On the one hand we see real progress against hunger and disease and getting people in poorer countries connected to basic infrastructure. At the same time rights are being eroded and intolerance is growing across a wide range of countries, rich and poor alike.”

“It is also clear that, although richer countries top the rankings, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is far from being the sole determinant of social progress. Across the spectrum, from rich to poor, we see how some countries are much better at turning their economic growth into social progress than others.”

The performance of India has improved from 53.97/100 in 2014 to 56.26/100 in 2018, an increase of 2.29 points, while the world performance has improved by 1.66 points. The country has registered highest improvements in Shelter, Access to Information & Communication and Nutrition & Basic Medical Care.

The results of the global index are consistent with the results of the Social Progress Index for Indian regions. Social Progress India calculated the social progress of twenty-eight Indian states and one Union Territory (Delhi) for the period 2005–2016 by applying the Social Progress Index framework. The work was carried forward by calculating the social progress of 637 districts from 33 states and Union Territories. Overall, social progress is improving; the scores have improved by approximately 8 points since 2005. The results show that average performance is better on components of Basic Human Needs than the other two components.

At the state level, Kerala outperforms other states. The success of the state is attributed to the systematic state investments in social sectors like education and health over a long period. The trends at the state level depict that all the states have improved since 2005. It is promising that the group of states that have registered the highest improvement are the ones that were categorized as Very Low the Social Progress States in 2005.

Commenting on the results of Social Progress Index, Dr. Amit Kapoor, Honorary Chairman, Institute for Competitiveness said, “The global results show that the country is moving in the right direction and has made significant improvements. But there exists a wide disparity within Indian states and districts that make it critical to analyse the social progress performance at the regional level. Social Progress India’s state and district level indices offer a more revealing picture of the Indian states and districts. These results can help policymakers at every level of government to set priority areas and drive improvement.”