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India's Socio Economic Performance in Comparison to G20 Nations

  • 15 Sep 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: G20, GDP per Capita, Human Development Index (HDI)

For Mains: Impact of Socioeconomic Indicators on India's Global Standing

Source: TH

Why in News?

Recently, India hosted the 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi under the theme 'One Earth, One Family, One Future.'

  • As India handed over the G20 Presidency of 2024 to Brazil, it was essential to evaluate its socioeconomic performance in comparison to fellow G20 nations. , Unfortunately, India's recent performance in key socioeconomic indicators lagged behind its G20 counterparts.

What is the Status of India's Progress on Various Metrics in Comparison to G20 Members?

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita:
    • GDP per capita is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy divided by mid-year population.
    • In 1970, India ranked 18th out of 19 regions analysed (Russia excluded), with a GDP per capita of USD 111.97.
      • By 2022, India's GDP per capita had increased to USD 2,388.62 but remained at the bottom among the 19 regions.
  • Human Development Index (HDI):
    • HDI is a composite index that measures average achievement in human development taking into account four indicators:
      • Life expectancy at birth (Sustainable Development Goal 3),
      • Expected years of schooling (Sustainable Development Goal 4.3),
      • Mean years of schooling (Sustainable Development Goal 4.4),
      • Gross national income (GNI) (Sustainable Development Goal 8.5).
    • HDI is measured on a scale of 0 (worst) to 1 (best). The HDI of 19 countries (European Union(EU) excluded) between 1990 and 2021 is compared and India's HDI improved from 0.43 in 1990 to 0.63 in 2021, reflecting progress in life expectancy, education, and living standards.
      • However, despite its progress in absolute terms, India ranked at the bottom of the list.
  • Health Metrics:
    • Life Expectancy:
      • India's average life expectancy increased from 45.22 years in 1990 to 67.24 years in 2021, surpassing South Africa but still lagging behind China.
    • Infant Mortality:
      • In 1990, India ranked last with an infant mortality rate of 88.8. By 2021, the rate improved to 25.5, but India ranked 19th out of 20 regions.
  • Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR):
    • The (LFPR) above 15 years of age in the 20 regions was compared between 1990 and 2021-22.
      • In 1990, with an LFPR of 54.2%, India ranked 18, above Italy (49.7%) and Saudi Arabia (53.3%).
      • However, by 2021-22, India's LFPR slipped to 19th place, only ahead of Italy, with a reduced LFPR of 49.5%.
  • Women in Parliament:
    • The share of women in the Parliament of 19 regions (Saudi Arabia excluded) was compared between 1998 and 2022.
      • India's share of women in Parliament increased from 8.1% in 1998 to 14.9% in 2022.
      • However, compared to other G20 countries and the EU, India's rank declined from 15th in 1998 to 18th in 2022, just ahead of Japan.
  • Environmental Performance:
    • India has effectively curbed carbon emissions over the past three decades, consistently ranking as the lowest emitter among the 20 regions.
      • However, India's progress in adopting eco-friendly energy sources has been relatively slow, with just 5.36% of electricity generated from renewables in 2015, ranking 13th among the 20 regions.

Way Forward

  • India should focus on policies that ensure economic growth reaches all segments of society. Targeted interventions for marginalized communities, rural development, and skill enhancement programs can help bridge income disparities.
    • Policies should focus on creating more job opportunities, especially for the youth. Encouraging entrepreneurship can reduce unemployment, fostering inclusive development.
  • India should focus on reducing infant mortality through targeted healthcare interventions, including maternal and child healthcare, immunisation, and sanitation infrastructure investments.
  • Implement policies and programs that promote gender equality, including women's participation in the workforce and leadership roles.
  • Accelerate the adoption of eco-friendly energy sources and increase renewable energy generation.
    • Encouraging more women to enter politics and leadership roles is essential.
  • Strengthen anti-corruption measures and promote ethical governance at all levels.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Consider the following statements about G-20 :(2023)

  1. The G-20 group was originally established as a platform for the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss the international economic and financial issues.
  2. Digital public infrastructure is one of India's G-20 priorities.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only 
(c) Both 1 and 2 
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (c)

The G20:

  • It was founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis as a forum for the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss global economic and financial issues. Hence statement 1 is correct.
  • It was upgraded to the level of Heads of State/Government in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis of 2007, and, in 2009.
  • The G20 Summit is held annually, under the leadership of a rotating Presidency.
  • It is initially focused largely on broad macroeconomic issues, but it has since expanded its agenda to include trade, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, climate change, and anti-corruption.

Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI):

  • It is a shared means to many ends. It is a critical enabler of digital transformation and is helping to improve public service delivery at scale.
  • Designed and implemented well, it can help countries achieve their national priorities and accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to drive collective action on digital public infrastructure during India’s G20 Presidency. Hence, statement 2 is correct.


Q. Despite Consistent experience of high growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive. (2016)

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