The handwaving about migrant labourers is a good time to post this information I'd intended to post some months back, but forgot. The term 'Human Development Index' (HDI) usually gets used in this thread in the context of sarcasm about Kerala (rather deserved to an extent, and I say that as someone from there). But let's look at HDI in India as a dynamic metric over the years. Caveat: HDI can be calculated several ways, but the point here is to examine how it's evolved by one measure. This isn't about one state or another - so please
leave such parochial concerns at the door. List of Indian states and territories by HDI
Here's how India looked like in 1980. Basically - primitive conditions nationwide, essentially very low HDI (black) everywhere
Here's 1991. Still solidly either low HDI (red) or very low HDI (black)
Fast forward to turn of century: 2001 . No longer any states with extremely low HDI, but just one step above it
Now to start of the last decade, 2011: still many states that are in the low HDI category (red)
Now the latest data listed is 2017 figures reported in 2018. At that time All India HDI was 0.647 (medium), up from 0.609 in 2015. Trends by state
* There are no
states in the low HDI category anymore
* Chandigarh is the first north Indian territory to make the high HDI group (>0.750)
* North India is not the main cause of low HDI anymore. Eastern India - the BH,JH,WB cluster - is.
* UP, once the main reason for low HDI, would now be in the upper middle HDI group (>0.600), probably on the same level as Andhra Pradesh 5-8 years ago.
* Southern states continue to dominate, with the lowest ranked southern state (AP with 0.650) better than the best eastern state.
* The northeast is seeing little movement over the last 5 years.
By 2022-24, India HDI will be >0.700, or the lower end of the high HDI tier. This is where China is today. These latest rankings being based on 2017 data, will not have the last three years worth of significant rural quality of life gains that showed up in GE2019 results. Right now, we're likely somewhere around 0.675-0.680 for all India.
The fundamental problems with the politics of poverty - something I posted during a detailed analysis of GE2019 - is that you need enough desperately poor people to appeal to with handout based politics, and there aren't enough desperately poor people in India anymore to win elections reliably with such politics.