Dr. Avnish Jolly, New Delhi, 11th March, 2009 :According to a report by the Women and Child Development Ministry, Gender development and empowerment indices have not improved in India particularly in low-income states. The report—Gendering Human Development Indices: Recasting the Gender Development Index and Gender Empowerment Measure for India—has been brought out by the Ministry in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report has been compiled by the Indian Institute of Public Administration.
According to the report while Chandigarh faired the best on both indices—with HDI of 0.801 and GDI of 0.781, Kerala slipped from the first position in 1996 to now being ranked second on the HDI index and third on the GDI index in 2006. It states that the consistently low score on all three dimensions of indices in many low-income states reiterates that the central and concerned state governments must pay more attention to provide women and men access to better health, education, infrastructure and income earning opportunities. Bihar is ranked the lowest amongst the thirty-five states and Union Territories in the country.
The report reviles that that there was an urgent need for these states to work towards reducing poverty and multi-dimensional deprivation, the report revealed that in most of the low-income states there is massive gap between gender empowerment and the high Human Development Index (HDI) and Gender Development Index (GDI). However, it points out that the HDI and GDI based on health, education and income indicators have improved from 0.584 and 0.568 in 1996 to 0.648 and 0.633 in 2006.
The study also report that Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) based on political, economic participation and power over economic resources in India has improved marginally by 0.042—up from 0.413 in 1996 to 0.451 in 2006.
Andhra Pradesh with 0.509 GEM is the highest on the 2006 GEM index showing signs of major improvements with a quantum jump from the rank 14 it held in 1996. Goa and Haryana follow are close on heels with a GEM of above 0.5 each. However, Delhi that had faired along similar lines in 1996 with a score of 0.511 lagged behind in 2006 with GEM of 0.487, the report said.
The GEM scores of states like Nagaland, Mizoram, Lakshadweep and Jammu and Kashmir were recorded at the lower end of the spectrum.