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World Bank’s Human Capital Index released

Speed Post News Network

New Delhi : The World Bank on October 11, 2018, released a Human Capital Index (HCI) as part of the World Development Report 2019.

The broader theme of the World Development Report (WDR) this year is “The Changing Nature of Work”. As part of this report, the World Bank has launched a Human Capital Project (HCP). The HCP programme is claimed to be a programme of advocacy, measurement, and analytical work to raise awareness and increase demand for interventions to build human capital.

There are three components of HCP- a cross-country human capital measurement metric called the Human Capital Index (HCI), a programme of measurement and research to inform policy action, and a programme of support for country strategies to accelerate investment in human capital.

The HCI has been constructed for 157 countries. It claims to seek to measure the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18. The HCI index values are contended to convey the productivity of the next generation of workers, compared to a benchmark of complete standard education and full health, according to a PIB release.

The key observations regarding HCI for India in the report are as under : A child born in India today will be only 44 per cent as productive when she grows up if she enjoyed complete education and full health, 96 out of 100 children born in India survive to age 5, students in India score 355 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment, 83 per cent of 15-year olds will survive until age 60, 62 out of 100 children are not stunted -38 out of 100 children are stunted, and so at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that can last a lifetime, HCI for girls is marginally higher than for boys.

There are serious reservations about the advisability and utility of this exercise of constructing HCI. There are major methodological weaknesses besides substantial data gaps. For instance, for the schooling parameter, though quantity is assessed using enrolment rates reported by UNESCO, quality is gauged using harmonised test scores from major international student achievement testing programmes. Due to lack of availability of an authoritative and uniform test score, about 9 different test scores and systems using varying methodology claimed to have been harmonised by the World Bank.

Analysed in the context of India, the HCI score for India does not reflect the key initiatives that are being taken for developing human capital in the country. The Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan has been launched to focus on access and quality of education for the benefit of 197 million school children. Through the Ayushman Bharat Programme, India has now launched the world’s largest Health Insurance initiative providing 500 million citizens with adequate health coverage and transforming 150,000 Health Centres into Wellness Centres to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services. Sanitation coverage has expanded from 38% in 2014 to 83% in 2018 under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

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