India and the MDGs: Where do we stand today?

In the year 2000, nations across the globe came together and identified the targets that addressed poverty and its many facets. The eight millennium goals were framed as an encompassing model and were followed by countries across the globe. There have been definite changes that this blueprint has driven in but there are some key areas and facts that are overshadowed and needs to be addressed.


A review of the Millennium Development Goals was conducted over the years and the latest report (2015) has put forth some statistics that have led the experts to re-think over the set targets and revising the approach for MDGs. The baseline for the targets was kept as 1990 As far as India is concerned, the incidence of extreme poverty has surely been reduced from 49.4% in 1994 to 24.7% in 2011. However, the considered population for the above mentioned stats were the ones living on 79 (1.25 $) or less than that a day. I feel that that there is a thorough lack of the much required pragmatic approach towards this issue. We need to realize that the daily living expense for anyone cannot be as low as it is considered for the statistics.

UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon in his foreword stated that, “In 2011, nearly 60 per cent of the world’s one billion extremely poor people lived in just five countries.”

The 2015 report states that the global under-five mortality rate has been reduced to 43 from 90 deaths per 1000 live births between the years 1990 and2015. Even though the percentage in India has dropped but it still registers maximum number of maternal deaths in the world, Nigeria being the second. In 2013, 50,000 among 2.89 lakh women died due to pregnancy or child-bearing complications.

In one of the recent Indian Express article, it was quoted that India is 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. With such glaring statistics, we cannot really say that the nation has proceeded well as far as tackling hunger is concerned. While on the other hand the Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 states that the proportion of undernourished people in the developing regions has dropped by half since 1990.

Yes, as a dedicated member of the community working towards the Millennium Development Goals, there has been positive changes, drops in unfavorable percentages but at the country level, we have a long way to go. There are many more issues that exists at the grassroots level and has to be dealt with a pragmatic approach so as to have a definite impact. The MDGs remain a mix bag of achievement especially in context of India. If we look at the data of enrollment in schools, it is impressive but aren’t we ignoring the actual challenges of retention in schools? There is a definitely a will to being in positive changes but we lack the resources and effective implementation of the policies.

There has to be a mechanism to ensure that the schemes, policies initiated by the government reach the right communities and benefit the marginalized.