Human Development Report 2003: Flatters to deceive Sabyasachi Mitra

The recently published Human Development Report 2003 (HDR 2003) stresses the need for countries, both developed and developing, to play their roles in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals adopted at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000 and in the process end poverty. In fact this report has more credence than the World Development Report, brought out by the World Bank. The HDR, an annual ritual of the UNDP, appears to have a focus oriented towards improving the condition of the world's population, especially in developing countries. However, its adherence to the belief that globalization, the way it…

HDR 2003: The index versus the approach C. Rammanohar Reddy

The story every year with the Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme is that it attracts notice for a short while, only to be forgotten quickly. This will be the case in 2003 as well. The global ranking of countries according to their human development index (HDI), which is, in many ways, the centrepiece of the UNDP Report, has shown that India had slipped three places in 2001. Since India's position has been steadily rising in the HDI list since 1990, the decline this year was the source of some embarrassment. It was a reminder that India's…

HDR 2002: Wishful thinking or concrete measures? Sabyasachi Mitra

The Human Development Report 2002 (HDR 2002), published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), focuses on the importance of democracy in achieving human development targets. In the foreword to the Report, titled 'Deepening democracy in a fragmented world', Mark Malloch Brown, UNDP Administrator, notes that effective governance is central to human development, and that lasting solutions need to go beyond narrow issues and "be firmly grounded in democratic politics in the broadest sense". HDR 2002 states that there need be no trade-off between democracy and development as no evidence has been found to establish such a claim. No one…

The Democratic Deficit Jayati Ghosh

The latest Human Development Report (HDR) from the UNDP raises some important questions about true democracy and voice, but does not go far enough in identifying some of the major obstacles to democracy in the world today, or the means to achieve it. The Human Development Reports annually published by the UNDP, over the years, have tended to provide at least some kind of counterbalancing analysis to the oppressively neoliberal and often misleading publications of the World Bank and the IMF. They have also managed, each year, to identify a theme that is not just topical and relevant, but quite…