The India Report: State of the Nation 2013

This page has the latest reports and statistics about the development indicators for India. By definition it is work in progress and will be continuously updated as data comes in. It will be consolidated and finalised at the end of the year as the 'State of the Nation Report'


The economy
India's economy continued on its low trajectory. The bravado of 10% growth is replaced with a more sober 5%. India's economy grew by 5% in the 2012-13 financial year, the slowest pace for a decade. The World Bank India Development Update) expects real GDP to expand by 4.7% (at factor cost) in fiscal year 2014 before accelerating to 6.2% in FY2015. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its World Economic Outlook, projected a growth rate of 3.75% for India in 2013-14, and 5.1% in 2014-15. You can read more here.

This is at a time when there is high inflation (over 6.4% in September). Core inflation remains low, though that of food and household necessities remains high. The inflation situation now resembles what India experienced in early 2010, when accelerating food prices combined with rapidly falling core inflation. The September price data showed that food prices have been rapidly rising since May. Food inflation is now at its highest level since July 2010. The main reason: vegetable prices, which may have shot up because heavy rains have hurt production as well as dislocated supply chains. Meanwhile, core, or non-food, non-fuel manufacturing inflation, has been falling because weak demand has hurt the pricing power of companies. You can read more here.

The public sector banks have silently written off over 1 lakh crore (Rs 1 trillion)-95% of it to large corporations--in the past 13 years according to the Reserve Bank deputy governor KC Chakrabarty even as India Ratings & Research estimates that Rs 2 trillion worth of bank loans for India's top 100 corporate houses are coming up for refinancing--about half of it potential default. Read more here.

... and India was ranked the fifth largest exporter of black money between 2002-2011 with over 343 billion sent abroad, and it was placed third when nearly USD 85 billion was exported within a year in 2011 according to a report Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries, 2002-2011 by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-based research and advocacy organisation.

Female labour participation

Female labour participation
A report by the International Labor Organization in February found that women’s participation in the workforce is dropping in India. According to the ILO’s Global Employment Trends 2013 report, India’s labour force participation rate for women fell from just over 37% in 2004-05 to 29% in 2009-10.

Out of 131 countries with available data, India ranks 11th from the bottom in female labour force participation.

The trend can be partly explained by the fact that increasing numbers of women of working age are enrolling in secondary schools and by rising household incomes, as women in wealthier households tend to have lower participation rates. Other potential causes include measurement issues, whereby women’s employment may be undercounted, as well as a general decline in employment opportunities for women, as they face increased competition with men for scarce jobs.

In terms of declining employment opportunities, occupational segregation appears to play an important role in holding women back: Women in India tend to be grouped in certain industries and occupations (such as basic agriculture) that have not seen employment growth in recent years, which has put a brake on female employment growth. Female employment in India grew by 9 million between 1994 and 2010, but the ILO estimates that it could have increased by almost double that figure if women had equal access to employment in the same industries and occupations as their male counterparts.

Strengthening anti-discrimination legislation in employment across all occupations will be essential for expanding employment opportunities for women. In addition, reducing the large gaps in wages and working conditions, often observed between women and men, could help provide a boost to the number of women seeking employment.

You can read more here and here.

Gender Gap

India is ranked 101 of 136 countries in the eighth annual Global Gender Gap Index. India remains the lowest-ranked of the BRICS economies, even after gaining four places.

The Global Gender Gap Report’s index assesses 136 countries, representing more than 93% of the world’s population, on how well resources and opportunities are divided among male and female populations. The Report measures the size of the gender inequality gap in four areas:

Economic participation and opportunity – salaries, participation and highly skilled employment
Educational attainment – access to basic and higher levels of education
Political empowerment – representation in decision-making structures
Health and survival – life expectancy and sex ratio

You can download the full report, covering 136 economies including rankings, video and an interactive map, or read a brief summary here.

Index scores can be interpreted as the percentage of the gap that has been closed between women and men. Of these, 110 have been covered since the first edition of the Report in 2006. Of the 14 variables used to create the index, 13 are from publicly available hard data indicators from international organizations such as the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Health Organization.

The magnitude and particulars of gender gaps in countries around the world are the combined result of various socio-economic and cultural variables. The closure or continuation of these gaps is intrinsically connected to the framework of national policies in place. For the third consecutive year, the Report includes new data from a survey of various national ministries analysing the use of policies designed to facilitate female workforce participation in 87 countries.

The Global Gender Gap Index introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006, is a framework for capturing the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress. The Index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria, and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across regions and income groups, and over time. The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them. The methodology and quantitative analysis behind the rankings are intended to serve as a basis for designing effective measures for reducing gender gaps.

The Index is designed to measure gender-based gaps in access to resources and opportunities in individual countries rather than the actual levels of the available resources and opportunities in those countries. We do this in order to make the Global Gender Gap Index independent from countries’ the levels of development. In other words, the Index is constructed to rank countries on their gender gaps not on their development level. For example, rich countries have more education and health opportunities for all members of society and measures of education levels thus mainly reflect this well-known fact, although it is quite independent of the gender-related issues faced by each country at its own level of income. The Global Gender Gap Index, however, rewards countries for smaller gaps in access to these resources, regardless of the overall level of resources. Thus the Index penalizes or rewards countries based on the size of the gap between male and female enrolment rates, but not for the overall levels of education in the country.

Read the Global Gender Gap Report:
Use the PDF reader:
Watch video interviews on the Report:
Use our interactive heatmap:
Follow the Forum on Twitter at
Become a fan of the Forum on Facebook at
Read the Forum blog at
Subscribe to Forum news releases at


India has been ranked 94th out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perception Index (CPI). Last year, India was ranked 95 out of 183 countries that were studied. In this year’s CPI, India earned a very low score of 36 on a scale from 0 (most corrupt) to 100 (least corrupt). You can read more here.

In the Failed States Index 2013, India is ranked 79 of 178 countries (with a score of 77.5, max. 120), up from 78 with score 78.0 in 2012. (The lower the score the more stable the country is). The problem areas (where India has got a high score) are vengeance seeking group grievance (8.2), uneven economic development (8.1) and the security apparatus (7.8) and mounting demographic pressure (7.5).

In absolute terms, India has the highest number of kidnapping for ranson, second only to Mexico, according to a new report from Control Risks. You can read more here.

Hunger and malnutrition

Hunger and malnutrition
India moved from 65 to 63 in the Global Hunger Index. The score improved from 22.9 in 2012 to 21.3. India continued to trail behind Pakistan and Bangladesh on the index. India is one of the three countries outside Sub-saharan Africa to have 'alarming levels' of hunger. The other two are Haiti and Timor-Leste. India continued to record one of the highest prevalence of children under five who are underweight, at more than 40%– one of the three criteria that the index is built on. The report said South Asia continued to have the maximum number of hungry people in the world, followed by sub-Saharan Africa. The report cites social inequality and low nutritional, educational, and social status of women as the major causes of child under-nutrition in South Asia. You can read more here.

India ranks 102 out of 132 nations on social development index

India ranks 102nd among the 132 countries on the Social Progress Index, a measure of human wellbeing that goes beyond traditional economic measures such as GDP or per capita income.

Of the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — only India ranked lower than the 100th position on the list of the Social Progress Index 2014 compiled by US-based non-profit group Social Progress Imperative.

India ranks 102nd on social progress with challenges across all three dimensions with particularly low scores on shelter (39.77) in the basic human needs dimension, access to information (39.87) in the foundations of wellbeing dimension, and tolerance and inclusion (21.54) in the opportunity dimension.

The basic human needs dimension comprises parametres of nutrition and basic medical care, water and sanitation, shelter and personal safety.

The foundations of wellbeing includes parametres of access to basic knowledge, information and communications, health and wellness and ecosystem sustainability, while opportunity dimension includes personal rights, freedom and choice, tolerance and inclusion and access to education.

The report said that while the BRICS are generally seen as areas of great economic growth potential, social progress performance is mixed at best.

"The Social Progress Index provides evidence that extreme poverty and poor social performance often go hand-in-hand," it said.

You can read more here.

Labour and employment (April 2014)

Since 2004-05, for the first time in the history of India, more workers have left agriculture for productive work in industry and services. Between 2009-10 and 2011-12, non-agricultural employment grew rapidly.

Between 1999-2000 and 2004-05, National Sample Survey (NSS) data reveal that nearly 12 million joined the labour force. However, the number of non-agricultural jobs created per annum was much lower — 7.5 million. Non-agricultural employment increased between 1999-2000 and 2004-05 (which coincides with the time the National Democratic Alliance was in power) by 37.5 million over the five-year period, i.e., 7.5 million new jobs in industry (manufacturing and construction) and services per annum.

Growth of non-agricultural jobs
The number of non-agricultural jobs between 2004-05 and 2011-12 increased by 52 million over seven years, i.e., by 7.5 million per annum again. However, since 2004-05 fewer people joined the labour force. 37 million persons left agriculture during the periods 2004-05 and 2011-12, they found work in non-agricultural activities, both rural and urban. In comparison, 20 million new workers joined agriculture between 1999-2004.

Since 2004-05, this transformation has been happening for the first time in the history of India. Of the 60 million additions to the workforce between 1999-2000 and 2004-05, a third (20 million) joining agriculture indicated growing rural distress, on account of the slow growth in agriculture between 1996 and 2005.

Agriculture has grown much faster since 2005. During the 11th Plan, agricultural output grew at 3.2 per cent per annum (2007-12) on average, despite crippling drought in 2009-10. The share of agriculture in the workforce has been in decline for decades (falling to 49 per cent in 2001-12).

Unskilled workers who left agriculture flocked to construction employment. Such employment increased by only eight million (17 to 25.6 million) during 1999-2000 to 2004-05. But it grew sharply to 50 million by 2011-12. This was an increase from under two million a year to seven million a year. While a part of this increase in construction employment was in housing real estate, it was infrastructure (roads, bridges, airports, ports, energy projects) investment which drove most of the employment growth.

Increasing employment was accompanied by rising wages. Wages were stagnant between 1999-2000 and 2004-05, especially rural wages. MGNREGA created a floor wage in the rural areas. This led to a knock-on effect on urban unskilled wages as well.

Growth in service jobs
Most importantly, services jobs grew by 11 million, and manufacturing employment increased by a remarkable nine million in two years alone (2009-10 and 2011-12), although manufacturing employment fell in absolute terms by three million between 2004-05 and 2009-10.

You can read more here.

Labour and employment

Labour and employment
The total employment in India is 465 million. Of this, about 28 million are in the organized sector and 437 million in the unorganized sector. In the unorganized sector, 246 million are in agriculture, 44 million in construction, and remaining in manufacturing and services. Many are home based in occupations such as beedi rolling, agarbatti making, papad making, tailoring, and embroidery work (Minister of State for Labour & Employment Shri Kodikunnil Suresh in the Rajya Sabha, based on National Sample Survey Organization in the year 2009-2010). PIB, 13 March 2013.

At the all India level, 48.2% are estimated to be self employed (usual principal status approach, UPS), 17.4% wage/salary earners and 34.4% are contract worker & casual labourers. The major source of income in rural India is self employment as the under agricultural and non-agricultural activities (51.2% of the households) followed by regular/wage salary (12.9% households). In urban areas it is regular wage/salary earnings (42.1%) followed by self employment (35.6%).

Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is estimated to be 50.9% (UPS approach). LFPR is 52.8% rural and 46.1% urban. All India female LFPR is estimated to be 22.6% and male is 76.6% (principal status approach). Worker Population Ratio (WPR) is estimated to be 48.5% (UPS approach). Rural WPR is 50.5% and urban 43.5%. Female WPR is 20.9% and male WPR is 73.5%.

The unemployment rate is estimated to be 4.7 per cent at All India level (UPS approach). Rural unemployment rate is 4.4% and urban is 5.7%. Female unemployment rate is 7.2% and male unemployment rate is 4.0%. Urban female unemployment rate is 12.8%.

For age group 15-29 years LFPR is 39.5% and Unemployment Rate is 13.3% (UPS approach).

The All India unemployment rate is estimated to be 4.7%. The unemployment rate per 1000 persons aged more than 15 years is highest in Sikkim (136), followed by Arunachal Pradesh (130), Tripura (126), Goa (107) and Kerala (104). The lowest unemployment rate was in Chhattisgarh (14), Karnataka (20), Madhya Pradesh (22), Andhra Pradesh (25) and Gujarat (27).

In unemployment rate per 1000 persons in young people (aged 15 to 29), the highest was Sikkim (372), Arunachal Pradesh (327), Kerala (315), Tripura (306) and Jammu and Kashmir (241). The lowest are Chhattisgarh (33), followed by Karnataka (52), Gujarat (59), Madhya Pradesh (60) and Mizoram (78).

The Report of the Third Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey is available on the Labour Bureau website.

3rd Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey Report 2012-13
Press note (summary).

Non-farm jobs could fall drop by as much as 25% during the FY13-19 period, and non-farm employment could plunge to 38 million in FY13-19 from 52 million in FY05-12 according to CRISIL Research. In 2018-19, India’s working age population would be over 85 million with 51 million of them seeking employment.

CRISIL estimates that the problem is compounded by the increasingly ‘jobless’ nature of growth in recent years due to two factors: first, GDP growth is now mostly driven by the less labour-intensive services sectors such as IT/ITES, and business and financial services and second, the labour dependency of the manufacturing sector - which once used to be the most labour-intensive sector barring agriculture - has diminished considerably as complicated restrictive labour laws and technological progress have encouraged automation. At present agriculture has only a 14% share in GDP, but around 49%.

Crisil estimates India’s economy will grow at an average 6% between fiscal years 2013 and 2019, with 50 million new jobs being created. The Indian economy grew at an average 8.5% between fiscal years 2005 and 2012. But growth fell to 5% in 2012-13, the slowest in a decade, and is expected to be at similar levels this fiscal year as well.

According to NSSO data, 14 million jobs were added between 2009-10 and 2011-12 as against only a million in the five years to 2009-10, labelled by many as a period of jobless growth. In the five-year period ended 2004-05, 60 million jobs were added.

You can read more here and here.

Mobile phones and internet

Mobile phones and internet
The new norms for spectrum allocation has brought about more realistic reporting on the number of mobile phones--that still continue to outpace the number of toilets in the country. There are 554.8 million actual mobile users in the country and 143.2 million internet users, according to a study India Mobile Landscape (IML) 2013 by research firm Juxt. More than 298 million, about 54%, of these device owners are in rural areas. There are total 773.9 million functional SIMs but only 643.4 million SIMs are being used by 554.8 million mobile devices. You can read more here.

Out of the total 874.87 million wireless subscribers of India, 731.40 million were active on the date of Peak VLR for the month of July 2013. As per the latest telecom subscription data (as on 31st July 2013) released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the proportion of VLR subscribers is approximately 83.60% of the total wireless subscriber base reported by the service providers.

Service Provider wise, Idea leads the tally with 97.58% followed by Vodafone(95.17%) and Bharti (95.16%). Circle-wise, West Bengal has the highest proportion of VLR subscribers with 88.74% followed by Maharashtra (88.22%) and Madhya Pradesh (87.64%).TN (incl. Chennai) has the lowest proportion with 73.33%.

The government plans to provide mobile phones to about 25 million below poverty line (BPL) families through the Bharat Mobile scheme, to households where at least one member has completed 100 days of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in 2012. Women will be given preference and the scheme is proposed to be completed in three years. You can read more here.

There are 21 million active mobile internet users in Rural India in June 2013 – a huge 5.3 times growth in 2013 over 2012 and nearly 47 times over 2010. It is estimated that there will be 27 million active mobile internet users by December 2013.
The i-Cube report titled, ‘Internet in Rural India’ by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB, which estimates that by December 2013, there will be 72 million claimed Internet users and 49 million active Internet users in rural India. By June 2014, claimed internet users in rural India will rise to 85 million and active internet users to 56 million. The report also finds that nearly 42% of the internet users prefer to access Internet only in Local languages. The majority of the rural internet population is not comfortable in accessing Internet in English and this is holding them back from using internet fully for other purposes than online entertainment. You can read more on the i-Cube report ‘Internet in Rural India’ here.

India moved down from 39 in 2012 to 47 in 2013 in the annual survey of internet freedom in various countries of the world, Freedom House. India ranks below countries such as Kenya, Ukraine, Armenia, Tunisia, Malawi and even Libya. You can read more of Freedom on the Net 2013: Despite Pushback, Internet Freedom Deteriorates here.


For the first time in the history of India, there was a decline in the absolute numbers of the poor after 2004-05; until then for nearly 30 years (1973-74 to 2004-5), there was a fall in the percentage, but not in the absolute numbers of the poor (322 million poor in 1973-74 and 302 million poor in 2004-05, by the Lakdawala poverty line).

The decline in poverty was driven by a rise in real wages. This rise in real wages and an increase in consumption expenditure have driven demand for goods to the bottom of the pyramid, as poor people have emerged out of poverty.

After 2004-05, demand for a number of consumer goods has grown sharply, which is reflected in the rise in consumption expenditure to 2011-12. This rise of consumption expenditure shows that the numbers of poor fell from 407 million (Tendulkar line) in 2004-05 to 356 million in 2009-10, and further to 269 million (2011-12).

The new non-poor demand simple manufactured consumer goods: processed food (biscuits, milk), leather goods (shoes, sandals), furniture (plastic chairs/tables, wooden furniture), textiles, garments and mobiles. All these product areas and services saw a dramatic increase in employment between 2009-10 and 2011-12, primarily because these simple, low-end products (at least those consumed by the new non-poor) are produced in the unorganised sector, using labour-intensive methods.

You can read more here.

29.5% of Indians are 'poor': Poverty estimates 2014

An expert panel headed by former RBI governor C Rangarajan said in a report that 29.5% of the India population lives below the poverty line, as against 21.9% according to Tendulkar. For 2009-10, Rangarajan has estimated that the share of BPL group in total population was 38.2%, translating into a decline in poverty ratio by 8.7 percentage points over a two-year period. This means that the BPL population, is estimated at 363 million in 2011-12, compared to the 270 million estimate based on the Tendulkar formula — an increase of almost 35%.

The real change is in urban areas where the BPL number is projected to have nearly doubled to 102.5 million based on Rangarajan's estimates, compared to 53 million based on the previous committee's recommendations. So, based on the new measure, in 2011-12, 26.4% of the people living in urban areas were BPL, compared to 35.1% in 2009-10.

If calculated on a daily basis, this translates into a per capita expenditure of Rs 32 per day in rural areas and Rs 47 per day in urban areas in 2011-12.

As per the Tendulkar methodology for 2011-12, the poverty line was Rs 816 in rural areas and Rs 1,000 in urban areas, which if calculated on a daily basis come out at Rs 27 per day in rural areas and Rs 33 in urban areas.

You can read more here.


In India slavery is often disguised. In popular discourse it is termed 'bonded labour'. The Global Slavery Index 2013 says India has the highest number of people living in conditions of slavery at 14 million (estimated number of slaves 13,956,010). The index is compiled by Australian-based rights organisation Walk Free Foundation using a definition of modern slavery that includes debt bondage, forced marriage and human trafficking.

India, China, Pakistan and Nigeria have the highest numbers of people enslaved. By proportional ranking India comes fourth, after Mauritania, Haiti and Pakistan. The report said India's ranking was mostly due to the exploitation of Indians citizens within the country itself. The report estimates nearly 30 million people around the world are living as slaves, ranking 162 countries. The International Labour Organisation estimates that almost 21 million people in the world are victims of forced labour. (The difference in estimates are due to difference in definition). You can read more on the report here and see the entire report with interactive map here.

Wealth (Richest Indians)

The richest Indians

The total wealth of India's top 100 rich people rose to $250 billion in 2013 as compared to $221 billion in 2012 according to the second edition of Hurun India Rich List.

With personal wealth of $18.9 billion, Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani tops the country's rich list followed by London-based Arcelor Mittal's chief L.N. Mittal with assets of $15.9 billion. Others in the top 10 are: Wipro's Azim Premji (4th) with assets of $ 12 billion, HCL Technology's Shiv Nadar (5th, $ 8.6 billion), Grasim Industries' Kumar Mangalam Birla (6th, $ 8.4 billion), Godrej Group's Adi Godrej (7th, $ 8.1 billion), Pallonji Mistry of Shapoorji Pallonji & Co ($ 8 billion) ranked 8th, Shashi & Ravi Ruia (Essar Energy, $ 7.6 billion) ranked 9th and Sunil Mittal ( Bharti AirtelBSE 0.56 %, $ 7.3 billion). Anil Ambani of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group occupies the 11th position with a personal fortune of $ 7.1 billion.

According to the report, 141 individuals in India have personal wealth of $300 million or more. Last year it was only 101 individuals. 101 individuals either retained or increased their wealth and only 40 of them witnessed a decrease in their assets.

Men dominate the list with just four percent of it being occupied by women. Steel baroness Savitri Jindal (62), the non-executive chairperson of OP Jindal Group, is the richest Indian woman with a personal fortune of $5.1 billion followed by Indu Jain, 77, chairperson of India's largest media group, Bennett, Coleman & Company, with $1.9 billion personal assets.

Despite a sluggish economic growth of around 5 percent, average net worth of millionaires in Hurun India Rich list 2012 increased by $100 million in 2013. Manufacturing continued to be the main source of wealth in India with 17 percent of the rich list, followed by pharmaceuticals and real estate, which have both seen their percentages drop slightly to 11 percent and 9 percent, down from 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

While Mumbai continues to be the capital for India’s super rich, its dominance has dwindled to 33 percent from 36 percent last year. Ditto with Delhi and Bangalore, whose percentage of the richest individuals reduced to 16 percent and 11 percent, respectively, down from 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

You can read more here and here. The list of India's billionaires is here.