Improving by four notches in one year in the United Nation’s Human Development Index (HDI) cannot be considered a big success. Out of 191 countries, Bangladesh is ranked at 129 in the ‘Human Development Index 2021-22’ the UNDP published on 9 September. The value of Bangladesh’s point has increased by .0006 than the previous year. Bangladesh was ranked 133 out of 189 countries in 2020 while it ranked 135 out of 185 countries in 2019.

According to this year’s report, Bangladesh’s human development situation is in the medium tier. But there is no doubt that our position is among the last countries of medium tier. UNDP prepared the report after taking post-Covid data and information. The indices were prepared based on the heavily affected overall living standard including the economy, job, food and nutrition, health and education by pandemic onslaught. UNDP, Bangladesh’s economist Naznin Ahmed termed the improvement as encouraging. She said Bangladesh is improving though the globally the HDI has decreased.

But there is no scope to be complacent in this success. We must remember that overall the country is faring well. As many as 128 countries are ahead of Bangladesh. It will take a long time to reach in the double digit rank especially with the pace we have been improving. The main element of Bangladesh’s improvement in the index is growth in Gross National Income. Who are getting the benefits of this growth in income? If the greater number of people do not get the benefit of this growth, it would not be possible to take the HDI to the expected level.

The biggest hindrances to development in HDI are corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency. Ruling Awami League in its election manifesto pledged zero tolerance against corruption. They also talked about nurturing manpower appropriate for the 21st century. But it is sad that those pledges were reflected a very little in the last 13 and a half years of its governance. Lack of rule of law and lack of efficient manpower has been stopping the wheels of development at every step.

Information regarding public health and education is analysed to highlight the improvement in human resources. Our success in these two sectors is also little. People learned a hard lesson regarding the country’s fragile health sector during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite growth in literacy rate we could not build efficient manpower in every field. Again, the government has considerable failure in utilising the educated population.

If we truly want to take Bangladesh among the developed countries, we must bring corruption down to zero, establish the rule of law, and build efficient manpower. Above all, there is no alternative to free the country from the vicious circle of poverty.

There no country in the world where development in human resources took place despite poverty. That means, we have to move ahead to compete with the developed countries, not comparing with the other South Asian economies in HDI. Why are we not fulfilling the basic needs of all people and developing them up as a skilled and competent workforce, especially when we have been dreaming of becoming a developed country?