Bhutan ranked 136 out of 187 coun­tries in Hu­man Devel­op­ment

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Pen­jor

Across Asia and the Pacific, over a bil­lion of peo­ple live just above the ex­treme poverty line, more than US $ 1.25 but less than US$2.50 a day. But in Bhutan, an es­ti­mated 12 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion is poor and poverty in ru­ral ar­eas 16 per­cent is alarm­ingly higher than poverty in ur­ban ar­eas of 1.8 per­cent.

Bhutan multi-di­men­sional Poverty Re­port of 2012 high­lights, the largest con­trib­u­tors to na­tional poverty is due to de­prived of ed­u­ca­tion at 43 per­cent.

Ac­cord­ing to the Hu­man Devel­op­ment Re­port (HDR) 2014 which was re­leased last Fri­day stated that, the hu­man devel­op­ment in­dex (HDI) value for Bhutan is 0.584, which is close to the South Asian Av­er­age of 0.588, but be­low the world av­er­age of 0.702. Bhutan’s HDI value ranks in the “medium hu­man devel­op­ment” cat­e­gory. Bhutan ranked at 136 out of 187 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries, sharing the same rank with Cam­bo­dia.

The re­port fur­ther stated that, between 1980 and 2013, Bhutan’s life ex­pectancy at birth in­creased by 23.3 years, mean years of school­ing stayed the same and ex­pected years of school­ing in­creased by 8.4 years. In the same year, Bhutan’s Gross Na­tional In­come (GNI) per capita in­creased by about 536.2 per­cent.

Real progress on hu­man devel­op­ment, then, is not only a mat­ter of en­larg­ing peo­ple’s crit­i­cal choices and their abil­ity to be ed­u­cated, be healthy, have a rea­son­able stan­dard of liv­ing and feel safe but it is in­com­plete with­out ex- plor­ing and as­sess­ing the vul­ner­a­bil­ity , the Re­port states.

UNDP’s Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Christina Carl­son said, “De­spite the im­mense progress Bhutan has made in im­prov­ing its macro-level in­di­ca­tors, chal­lenges still per­sist. Dis­par­i­ties between ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas are on the rise, as a re­sult of in­creas­ing ru­ralur­ban mi­gra­tion, and the ag­ing of the agri­cul­tural labour force”.

“Youth em­ploy­ment and women’s economic par­tic­i­pa­tion will be key fac­tors that will in­flu­ence Bhutan’s abil­ity to achieve and main­tain eq­ui­table and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment in the com­ing years” she added.

The re­port states that, those who face mul­ti­ple de­pri­va­tions (marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties, un­em­ployed youth and women, and se­nior cit­i­zens) are es­pe­cially at risk of fall­ing back into poverty if dis­as­ter or cri­sis should oc­cur.

The re­port rec­om­mended that gov­ern­ments to com­mits to the univer­sal pro­vi­sion of ba­sic so­cial ser­vices and so­cial pro­tec­tion to build re­silience, es­pe­cially for the poor and other vul­ner­a­ble groups. It urges that coun­tries in Asia and the Pacific do not have to wait to be­come rich in or­der to pro­vide ad­e­quate so­cial pro­tec­tion or ba­sic so­cial ser­vices.

Min­is­ter of Labour and Hu­man Re­sources, Ly­onpo Ngeema San­gay Tshempo who lauched the HDR 2014 said, Bhutan do not have ab­ject poverty, there is no hunger and in other coun­tries, they have hunger and the poverty but still we can­not be com­pla­cent that we also have some Dzongkhags. For in­stance; Gasa, Zhem­gang, Samtse and Da­gana are some of the poor Dzongkhags in the coun­try.

The un­em­ploy­ment rate among the Bhutanese youth ( 15- 24) years of age is con­sid­er­ably higher than the over­all rate of 2.1 per­cent; among the male youth, un­em­ploy­ment stands at 9.5 per­cent, and among fe­male youth, at 11.6 per­cent. Th­ese rates are much more pro­nounced among youth in ur­ban ar­eas com­pared to ru­ral ar­eas, ris­ing sharply to 20.2 per­cent and 29.5 per­cent for male and fe­male youth re­spec­tively, the re­port states.

Mean­while, the re­port rec­om­mended that gov­ern­ment to fast- track ed­u­ca­tion re­form poli­cies and to ac­cel­er­ate broad based economic growth to cre­ate de­cent and well paid jobs that are es­sen­tial for im­prov­ing liv­ing stan­dards.

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