Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and India: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - October - 2015

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and India

Millenium Development Goals(MDGs) are the product of the Millennium Summit of September 2000. At this summit world leaders adopted the UN Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership by adoption of Millennium Declaration by the General Assembly of the United Nations. This summit committed to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets, with a deadline of 2015. These “time bound targets” are now known as the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). According to United Nations MDG are “quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions-income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion-while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. They are also basic human rights-the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security.”The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have helped in bringing out a much needed focus and pressure on basic development issues, which in turn led the governments at national and sub national levels to do better planning and implement more intensive policies and programmes. MDG’s have played a big role in improving the social indicators in India. India has achieved the target of reducing countries poverty levels by fifty percent by Dec, 2015.

The MDGs consists of eight goals, all these goals target various developmental and human rights issues. The eight (8) Goals are as under:

  • Goal 1: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
  • Goal 2: achieve universal primary education;
  • Goal 3: promote gender equality and empower women;
  • Goal 4: reduce child mortality;
  • Goal 5: improve maternal health;
  • Goal 6: combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
  • Goal 7: ensure environmental sustainability;
  • Goal 8: develop a global partnership for development.

Goals of MDGs are inter-linked with each other, like improving the sanitation levels will reduce child mortality as well as improve the maternal health; it will also help in combating the malaria etc. Similarly improvement in education levels as well as it will also improve gender equality as well as help in empowerment of women. Special emphasis has been given to the effectiveness of Statistics in monitoring development process at national and international levels, by specifying measurable indicators for the targets in the Millennium Development Goals. In India, the national statistical system does not have independent statistical machinery exclusively focused on quantitative monitoring of the MDGs. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) which is entrusted with the statistical tracking of the MDGs in India, is monitoring the progress under MDGs on the basis of data-sets available at national level, generated by the subject matter Ministries/Departments. Currently the monitoring is limited to the national and State/ UT levels.

Although more than 200 countries has committed to MDGs but success of MDGs is highly dependent upon how India will perform. Since 2000 India has made progress in all the MDGs. However the progress among the goals has been mixed. In some indicators India has performed exceptionally well, while in other indicators lot more needs to be done. The nation has already achieved the target of halving the poverty head count ratio, eliminated gender inequality in primary and secondary education, achieved the required trend reversal in the fight against HIV/ AIDS, ensuring the achievement of target of drinking water facility and improving drastically the telephone and internet penetration. The Country is moderately on track, while considering the targets of achieving universal education, reducing child mortality as the sharp decline in the recent years in Infant Mortality and Under Five Mortality are likely to take us very near to the target, trend reversal has achieved in the fight against Malaria and TB, though there was some fluctuations in between, measures have taken to reverse the loss of environmental resources, progress has been achieved in improving the environment by improving the coverage of forest area, protected areas, reducing CFC emissions. In spite of all these successes, hunger and sanitation remains a tough challenge for India. Maternal mortality rates have also not dropped to the desired level.

MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Target: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day

The all India Poverty Head Count Ratio (PHCR) estimate was 47.8% in 1990. In order to meet the target the PHCR level has to be 23.9% by 2015. In 2011-12, the PHCR at all India level is 21.9%, which shows that, India has already achieved the target well ahead of time.

Target: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

It is estimated that in 1990, the proportion of underweight children below 3 years 52%. In order to meet the target, the proportion of under-weight children should decrease to 26% by 2015. The National Family Health Survey shows that, the proportion of under-weight children below 3 year declined from 43% in 1998-99 to 40% in 2005-06. At this rate of decline the proportion of underweight children below 3 years is expected to reduce to only 33% by 2015,.

Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

TARGET: Ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary education.

The Net Enrolment Rate (NER) in primary education (age 6-10 years) was estimated at 84.5 per cent in 2005-06 (U-DISE) and the NER has increased to 88.08 per cent in 2013-14 (U-DISE), and is unlikely to meet the target of universal achievement.

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