Ranking: Bhutan’s ranking in human development index is up by four places at 132 out of 187 countries, according to the human development report, 2015, which was released on December 15.

The human development index (HDI) value for Bhutan is 0.605, which places the country in the medium development category along with India and Bangladesh from South Asia and 39 other countries.

Annually the index has grown at 1.39 percent.  From 0.573 in 2010, Bhutan’s HDI value has moved to 0.582 in 2011 to 0.589 in 2012 and 0.595 in 2013.

The UNDP’s HDI is a composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development – a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living.

A long and healthy life is measured by life expectancy, while access to knowledge is measured by mean years of schooling for the adult population, which is the average number of years of education received in a lifetime by people aged 25 years and older.  Standard of living is measured by gross national income (GNI) per capita, using purchasing power parity (PPP) rates.

According to the report, life expectancy at birth for Bhutan is 69.5 years, expected year of schooling is 12.6 years and the gross national income per capita is USD 7,176.

The report, which is themed ‘work for human development’ also ranks Bhutan 97th in gender inequality index, which is a measure of inequality in achievement between women and men in reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market.

While the percentage of male and female with at least some secondary education is almost equal, men’s participation in labour force is 10.5 percent more than women (66.7 percent).

According to a press release for the Asia and the Pacific region, transferable and higher skills needed to secure human development progress in Asia and the Pacific region. The region may have been experiencing fast growth and rapid human development, but not necessarily fast job creation.

“The availability and quality of work is key for human development in Asia and the Pacific, a region that is home to two-thirds of the world’s working-age population,” said the Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau, Haoliang Xu. “In order to ensure that the work-force is capable of adapting to rapidly changing demands, the governments need to make strategic investments into education and health care.”

Bhutan’s population annually has grown at a rate of 1.6 percent between 2010 and 2015, which is 1.2 percent less than the growth between 2000 and 2005.

Nirmala Pokhrel