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Understanding HDI

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This note is in reference to the review of Human Development Report 2000 (HDR 2000) which was published under the title of ‘Human Rights and Human Development’ (EPW, September 23).

The author Achin Chakraborty had rightly identified some of the shortcomings of the report but at the same time, I felt that some criticisms had been misplaced. In particular, he picked up the examples of Canada and Sierre Leone which the Report says to have 7 and 75 per cent shortfall in their respective Human Development Index (HDI) [HDR 2000:148]. I would like to answer the question that the author posed in the review: ‘What does then the ‘shortfall’ of 7 per cent mean?’ The Report clearly stated on the same page that  detailed explanation of the HDI can be found in the technical note. In the technical note, one finds that any component of the HDI indices can be computed according to the formula [HDR 2000:269].

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