According to the latest UNDP report released on Thursday, India is ranked 136th out of 186 countries in terms of HDI, five notches below the post-war Iraq.
Sri Lanka, the southern neighbour which is accused of terrible human rights records, is ranked at 92. Its rank in terms of Gender Inequality Index is 75, which is 57 ranks better than India. The HDI is a composite indicator made of three equal measures for education, health and income.
In terms of Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI), the newly formed measure which identifies multiple deprivations in the same households in education, health and living standard, only 29 countries fare worse than India. The index measures India's poverty headcount ratio at 54%, which is more than countries like Nepal and Bangladesh.
What was surprising that the MPI reading was so despite India doing extremely well in terms of economic performance.
India, along with China, has doubled the output per capital in less than two decades, something which Great Britain took 150 years to accomplish after the Industrial Revolution and the US, 50 years. But irrespective of the unprecedented speed and scale in transforming the living conditions and prospects of several people, India's index-reading failed to impress.
The overall picture for the developing countries were good, however. These countries have been steadily improving their human development records and all raised their standards from what it was a decade ago. India, China and Bangladesh have done better in terms of HDI than what was predicted for them in 1990.