New Delhi: India ranks a lowly 102 on a social progress index that grades countries for how well they do on meeting their citizens’ basic human needs, foundations of well-being and opportunity.

The top three countries on the index are New Zealand, Switzerland and Iceland.

The index, which was published online on Wednesday, ranked 132 countries on the basis of social progress rather than economic growth alone. It measures social progress directly, independent of economic development, and looks at 54 indicators of social and environmental outcomes.

The index was prepared by Social Progress Imperative, a not-for-profit organization based in the US. The three basic categories are sub-divided into indicators like health, sanitation, personal safety, ecosystem sustainability, shelter, access to knowledge, personal rights, and tolerance and inclusion.

India faces challenges across all three dimensions. The country scores particularly low on shelter in the basic human needs dimension, access to information in the foundations of well-being dimension, and tolerance and inclusion in the opportunity dimension.

India scores high in nutrition, basic medical care, and matters of personal freedom and choice.

Among its South Asian neighbours, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal are all ranked ahead of India at 85th, 99th and 101st positions, respectively. Pakistan, however, ranks below India at 124.

India fares poorly even among fellow BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations. Brazil is ranked at number 46, South Africa at 69, Russia 80 and China 90. The report pointed out that fast-growing economies such as India and China will have to take substantial steps in order to translate economic progress into better social conditions.

“It remains to be seen how quickly fast-growing economies such as India and China, that currently underperform on social progress relative to their GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, can turn economic success into improving social conditions," the report said.

China ranks 69th on GDP per capita and India 94th.

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