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India yet to achieve U.N. Millennium Development Goals

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Only four of the eight MDGs met by India, according to UN report; Deadline expires this year.

India is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the deadline for which expires this year.

The Statistical Year Book, brought out by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) that is overseeing progress on the MDGs, shows that only six of the 18 targets adopted as part of the eight goals in 2000 have been fully met. Another report brought out by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific shows that India has met only four of the eight MDGs.

The key targets for the MDGs were halving poverty, ensuring universal primary school enrolment, attaining gender parity, cutting maternal mortality rates by three-fourths, cutting child mortality by two-thirds and reducing incidence of HIV/AIDS, among others.

As per the official figures, India has managed to halve poverty rates from the 1990 levels, ensure gender parity in primary school enrolment, reversed incidence of HIV/AIDS, and reduced malaria and TB deaths.

However, India continues to lag behind in checking maternal mortality and child mortality to expected levels. It has failed to address prevalence of hunger as well. As per the Census 2011 report, 89 million children in the age group 0-3 were malnourished, with 35.6 million among them underweight. The failure to improve access to sanitation, with half of the country’s households lacking a latrine, remains a major concern as well.

Even in areas where India claims to be close to meeting its targets, such as reversing the incidence of malaria and TB, the disease burden continues to be high in terms of absolute numbers. As the year book shows, 1.8 million persons develop TB every year, and until recently, 3.7 lakh persons died annually, or 1,000 persons every day.

Another target was to achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020. But, the report says that it is not “statistically discernible” if the target was met. As per the Census 2011, a 37.14 per cent decadal growth was observed in the number of slum households, making it a significant challenge for the country. As for the other two targets of environmental sustainability and partnerships for development with other countries, official reports say India is on track.

Experts, however, dispute the government’s claims and flag the absence of quality data as a challenge in monitoring the country’s progress on the targets.

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Printable version | May 23, 2017 11:14:07 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-yet-to-achieve-un-millennium-development-goals/article7654764.ece