India has halved its incidence of extreme poverty, from 49.4 per cent in 1994 to 24.7 per cent in 2011, ahead of the 2015 deadline set by the U.N,, shows the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report, 2015, released on Tuesday.
The report set the limit for extreme poverty as those living on $1.25 or less a day. The reduction in poverty is still less than that achieved by several of India’s poorer neighbours. Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh have each outstripped India in poverty reduction.
While the report says India is on track to achieving the hunger targets, the nation remains home to one-quarter of the world’s undernourished population, over a third of the world’s underweight children, and nearly a third of the world’s food-insecure people. The report is especially important because it marks the deadline by which the MDG should have been achieved. India has achieved 11 out of 22 parameters in the report — spanning education, poverty, health, education and so on — and is on track to achieve one more by 2015-end. Bibek Debroy, member of NITI Aayog, released the report.
‘Tardy pace on maternal mortality front’
Though India has halved its incidence of extreme poverty, the nation is categorised as making “slow” progress on the other 10 parameters, including maternal mortality and access to sanitation, says the MDG Report.
“India hasn’t done that badly on the poverty goals. It hasn’t even done that badly on the education MDGs. The gross enrolment rate in almost every State you can think of is more than one. You can point towards the quality of education and the high drop-out rates, but at least one is getting them to school,” Mr. Debroy said.
India’s pace of progress on the poverty-reduction goal seems relatively slower than its neighbours is in some part due to its significantly bigger size and greater diversity. “While there are pockets of good performance, there are also sections that fare very poorly, and this brings the national average down,” Nagesh Kumar, Head, South and South-West Asia, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, told The Hindu .
Fall in Co2 emission
On the environment front, India is one of the few countries that have reduced its carbon dioxide emissions in relation to its GDP. India emitted 0.65 kg of carbon dioxide per $1 of GDP in 1990, which fell to 0.53 kg in 2010.
Dr. Debroy said that India was still lagging on several health parameters such as maternal mortality, infant mortality and basic sanitation. Although the infant mortality rate fell drastically from 88.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 43.8 in 2012, the annual progress on this had been slow. The same could be said for the maternal mortality rate, which fell from 560 per lakh live births in 1990 to 190 in 2013. He also said that these health indicators must be looked at carefully since many were interconnected. “Suppose no infant dies, then you have many malnourished children that have survived. What does that do to the ‘underweight children’ parameter? One should not make quick conclusions on the basis of such parameters,” he said.