Washington: India has been ranked at the 116th position in the latest edition of the World Bank's annual Human Capital Index that benchmarks key components of human capital across countries.

However, India's score increased to 0.49 from 0.44 in 2018, as per the Human Capital Index report released by the World Bank on Wednesday.

The 2020 Human Capital Index update includes health and education data for 174 countries covering 98 per cent of the world's population up to March 2020, providing a pre-pandemic baseline on the health and education of children, with the biggest strides made in low-income countries.

The analysis shows that pre-pandemic, most countries had made steady progress in building human capital of children, with the biggest strides made in low-income countries.

Despite this progress, and even before the effects of the pandemic, a child born in a typical country could expect to achieve just 56 per cent of their potential human capital, relative to a benchmark of complete education and full health, the Bank said.

"The pandemic puts at risk the decade's progress in building human capital, including the improvements in health, survival rates, school enrollment, and reduced stunting. The economic impact of the pandemic has been particularly deep for women and for the most disadvantaged families, leaving many vulnerable to food insecurity and poverty," said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

Protecting and investing in people is vital as countries work to lay the foundation for sustainable, inclusive recoveries and future growth.

Due to the pandemic's impact, most children more than 1 billion have been out of school and could lose out, on average, half a year of schooling, adjusted for learning, translating into considerable monetary losses. Data also shows significant disruptions to essential health services for women and children, with many children missing out on crucial vaccinations.

Last year, India had raised "serious reservations" over the Human Capital Index, wherein India was ranked 115 out of 157 countries. This year India finds itself at 116th from among 174 countries.

When asked about India's objections last year, Roberta Gatti, the bank's chief economist for human development, told reporters that her team has worked with countries to improve the quality of data in order to make it a better index for everyone.

"An index is a conversation-opener, and what we have discussed with our client countries is that all that is in the index matters, but not everything that matters can be in the index," she said.

"We have worked very directly with some of our client countries to use the index as a way to improve measurement, and India was exactly one of these cases," Gatti said.

Responding to questions, Mamta Murthi, Vice President, Human Development, World Bank Group, told reporters that the Human Capital Index provides a basis on which the government of India can prioritize and a dimension to support human capital. Given the progress that has been made in recent times, it seems significant for now due to COVID-19. The Bank is working with the Indian authorities on supporting livelihood for the poor, which is very important, she said.

World Bank President David Malpass said that the coronavirus has deepened inequality globally, in addition to increasing poverty and distress. "We're working with countries to try to protect people during the crisis and also invest in them so that we can see the recovery and lay a foundation for future inclusive growth," he said.

The impact of COVID-19, on developing countries particularly has been hard, Malpass said adding that there is the collapse of the formal and informal market, and also there is a very limited social safety net. The World Bank, he said, estimates a 12 per cent drop in employment.

There has been major decline in remittances and total income is going down by 11 or 12 per cent. All this, he said is likely to have a disproportionate effect on the poor and on women. India, he said is having "severe impact" of COVID-19.

Malpass said that there's two-fold inequality in this crisis. "One is that developing countries are being left further behind. And within developing countries, the poor are being left further behind. "Our concern right now with the pandemic is the subtractions or the challenges facing human capital creation in this environment," he said.

He further said, "countries are increasingly reporting declines in essential health services. Eighty million children are missing out on essential vaccinations. Most children, within more than a billion children, have been out of school due to COVID. And that could lose as much as USD 10 trillion in lifetime earnings because of the reduced learning, the school closing and the potential for dropping out of school and the disproportionate impact on girls".

Malpass said that the World Bank is trying to work to restart the learning process, including by helping countries secure access to equipment, assisting in reopening, and with distance learning.

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Bengaluru: Karnataka Minister S Suresh Kumar on Sunday termed as "sheer political one upmanship," Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's statement raking up the border issue between the two states and advised him to concentrate on preventing COVID and on developmental activities.

The state's Primary and Secondary Education Minister said that the border issue was already well settled.

"The Chief Minister of Maharashtra should concentrate on preventing COVID, on developmental activities and other things. He need not go back to things already well settled.

I think it is only to whip up passions and whipping up passions will not pay dividends these days," Kumar told PTI.

Noting that people now want reforms and development, he said, Thackeray should be advised to concentrate on governance and relationship with his alliance partners.

"....it (border issue) is a well settled thing, nobody can reopen this issue.

This is sheer political one-upmanship," he added.

Thackeray earlier on Sunday had said that his government is committed towards incorporating into the state the areas of Karnataka where Marathi-speaking people are in majority.

"Bringing Karnataka-occupied Marathi-speaking and cultural areas in Maharashtra will be the true tribute to those who accepted martyrdom in the boundary battle.

We are united and committed towards it. Respects to the martyrs with this promise," the Maharashtra CMO tweeted.

Maharashtra claims Belagavi and some other areas, which was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency but currently in Karnataka, on linguistic grounds, contending that the majority of population in these areas is Marathi-speaking.

Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti, a regional organisation fighting for the merger of Belagavi and some other border areas with Maharashtra, observes January 17 as 'martyrs' day' for those who laid down their lives for the cause in 1956.

On its part, as an assertion that Belagavi is an integral part of the state, Karnataka has built the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modeled on the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat in Bengaluru, where the legislature session is held once a year.