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Sep 26, 2005

Do U Know - India worse than Bangladesh in IMR & MMR

The United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index (HDI) was created by the late Mahbub ul Haq and by Amartya Sen on a scale of zero-to-one to mathematically represent a country's human indicators in terms of life expectancy, income generation and literacy. Since the methodology used is common across all countries, the index is an excellent means of comparing human indicators across national boundaries. In the latest annual rankings of nations based on this index, India has retained its previous position - 127 out of the 177 countries considered. In South Asia, Sri Lanka is the only country in the top 100 nations; it is ranked 96. Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh are at 135, 136 and 139 respectively.

The index is simply a decimal value by which to rank countries and study trends. To evaluate the HDI, one needs to go into its specifics.

For example, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in South Asia varies widely between 13 per thousand live births in Sri Lanka and 81 in Pakistan; it is 63 in India, 61 in Nepal and 46 in Bangladesh. China has an IMR of 30. Based on a population of 1.1 billion and a birth rate of 24 per thousand, we know that roughly 26 million children are born each year in India. Of these, nearly 1.64 million children will will die before they reach the age of one. If our IMR were instead 46 (the number in Bangladesh) then the number of deaths would reduce to about 1.2 million. In other words 450,000 lives would be saved each year if we could achieve the status of Bangladesh in the Infant Mortality Rate.

Question 1
The Planning Commission in the Tenth Plan has outlined that we should achieve the current Bangladesh standard by the year 2007 and the current Chinese standard by the year 2012. The Sri Lankan achievement is very far away, our best-performing state (Kerala) has an IMR of 19, still 50% worse than Sri Lanka's average.

Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) this varies between 0.92 per thousand births in Sri Lanka and 7.4 in Nepal; it is 5.4 in India, 5.0 in Pakistan and 3.8 in Bangladesh. This translates into 140,000 mothers dying each year in India due to childbirth. This figure would reduce to 24,000 if our MMR were to drop to the Sri Lankan level, a saving of more than 100,000 lives each year.

Question 2
The Planning Commission's goal is to reduce the MMR to 2 by the year 2007 and 1 by the year 2012.

Please mention the years for answers.
Hint : The target years for IMR and MMR are the same. eg : 2006 and 2007.


Unfortunately none got it right.


  1. Very interesting data!!
    And very confusing too! :)

    but you have explained it really well. Thank God mujhe samajh aa gaya! *hahaha*

  2. nupur:)
    well i post a do u know question on tuesday night which is open on wednesday and the answer i give on thursday. i posted this a day earlier:D

    genlly one can google for answer too.

  3. gaya, i have posted the"7" post.
    its on my new blog can u plz change the link in ur post.

  4. Sad but true!

    We treat our women, children and poor with absolute hate.

  5. Social Sciences!..Yikes!!!
    Thanks for reminding me why I am what I am...becoz I learnt it very early that I could do nothing in social sciences...that's ONE reason..hmm.

  6. There is a problem with comparing to countries like Bangladesh. or anywhere in the SAARC.

    I dont dispute the figures, its long known that on some critical HDI factors, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have fairly decent stats.

    What I dont like is comparing India with them - the third world countries. (No, India aint one anymore. It has shifted its stance decidedly towards the first world)

    The problem of comparing with countries like B-desh or S Lanka is that we get everything reduced to matching - which is a stupid objective, on HDI we should be aiming for what the Scandinavians (in terms of figures)are or what the USA has - in terms of population, diversity or size.

  7. bangaloreguy,
    I didnt compare them to Bangladesh, the Planning Commission did and wanted to achieve that standard in case of Infant Mortality Rate.

  8. the point is not whether India is a 3rd world country.
    but on the criterias we would apply to call ourselves developed.

    for me development is not just "there is a macdonalds in my neighbourhood" but whether fellow Indians can afford food.

    There are many things about India which I am proud of
    And hightlight these data, only to bring awareness to those who are ignorant.

    Media and bloggers perhaps would devote more space and time to a cricket match India loses to Bangladesh then to these figures..

  9. MMR is estimated per 100,000 births not per 1000 births as you stated.

  10. annon, thanks for pointing it out. but i wrote based on the source page. and since its .92 it probably got converted..


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