India, despite its apparently increasing economic prosperity, continues to be at par with 'basket case economies' in human indices.
The latest figures in the United Nations' Human Development Index (HDI) show the country's position unchanged at 135th out of 187 countries in 2013, indicating very little improvement in the living standards of its people; and a far cry from its boast of being Asia's No 3 economy.
"India's HDI value for 2013 is 0.586 - which falls in the medium human development category and positioning the country at 135 out of 187 countries,'' said the UNDP report released today.
But it did add that ''between 1980 to 2013, India's HDI value increased from 0.369 to 0.586".
The report further said that while none of the BRICS countries were in the high human development category, India remained at the bottom with the lowest HDI value among them.
"India is the lowest performing country among the BRICS nations in all categories of the HDI with the exception of life expectancy, which is lower in South Africa as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic," the report said.
Among the BRICS countries, Russia, Brazil and China are in the high HDI category. Russia secured the highest rank at 57, followed by Brazil at 79 and China at 91. South Africa and India rank in the middle category, securing 118th and 135th position respectively, it said.
The HDI reflects long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human lives - a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. In 2013 the study covered 187 countries, the same as in 2012 and 2011.
The report said that based on the data available on November 15, 2013, there were few countries with changed in ranks between 2012 and 2013.
Presenting a review of India's progress in each of the HDI indicators between 1980 and 2013, it said, "The life expectancy at birth increased by 11 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.5 years and expected years of schooling increased by 5.3 years."