With just a year left for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), India’s scorecard on attaining them remains unsatisfactory. Of the eight goals, the country is on track to meet just one-and-a-half, will miss three-and-a-half and may just partially meet three goals. India will have to take some quick corrective steps to meet the targets which were set up by the United Nations in 2000.
While the country has made great strides in reducing poverty—the share of people below the poverty line decreased from 45.3% in 1993 to 21.9% in 2011—the target of halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 2015 will not be met. The irony is that despite buffer stock of foodgrains being more than double the requirements, India has still not been able to eliminate hunger from the country due to poor health and sanitation facilities.
The country will also miss the target of reducing the under-five mortality rate to 42 per 1,000 births by 2015. Even in maternal health, India will miss the target of reducing the Maternal Mortality Ratio from an estimated 437 per 1,00,000 live births in 1990 to 109 by 2015.
On environmental sustainability issues, data from NSSO show only 46.1% households in rural India have drinking water within the premises and for most tubewell/borehole is the principal source of drinking water. Access to sanitation facilities is a major concern as around 60% households in rural areas do not have latrines and 62% households in the hinterland do not have access to bathroom.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Swachh Bharat project that seeks to clean up around 1,000 Indian towns besides eliminating manual scavenging is now expected help improve the sanitation facilities but there has to be a concerted effort from both the Centre and the states to achieve the MDGs quickly.
Source: All graphs from Millennium Development Goals: India Country Report 2015, Social Statistics Division, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation