India, Asia’s third largest economy has been desperately trying to draw upon its democratic and demographic dividends to achieve its Millennium Development Goals by 2015. But its diversity, vast population and differing baselines and variability of services has complicated the path further. The visionary document had ambitious target of reducing hunger, poverty, infant and maternal mortality, for reversing the spread of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and giving children basic education by 2015 but a review of the achievements till date and projections for 2015 suggest some success and some failures too. Half empty, half full-- India’s record should be the base to some serious policy priorities.
To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
In 1990, India had 47.8 per cent such poor people and therefore according to the MDG goal the proportion of this population to be reduced was 23.9 per cent. By 2011-12, the poverty ratio had come down to 21.92 per cent.
This target is well within our reach.
Achieve universal primary education
Going by the main indicator, primary school enrolment, this goal is judged to be “on track” as recent estimates have put this number at above 90 per cent. But there have been widespread concerns over quality of education that is being imparted in the rush to meet the goal.
Promote gender equality and empower women
In 2005 India had missed the deadline for eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education but since then it has hastened progress and the Gender Parity Index (GPI) for Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in primary and secondary education.
Though the overall atmosphere of insecurity among women in the country imply that any kind of gender parity in many ways is still far off.
Reduce child mortality rates
When we started in 1990, there were 30 million children under five years of age who died every year. At that time the proportion of new born deaths was less than 30 per cent. Progressively, India took initiatives through the National Rural Health Mission and other schemes to bring women to health facilities.
But according to experts, an additional push would be required to reach the fourth goal.
Improve maternal health
Disappointingly it has been assessed to be ‘slow or off track’ since women need to have quality care at the time of delivery. To achieve Goal-5, India should reduce maternal mortality Rate (MMR) from 437 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1991 to 109 by 2015. In 1998 the value of MMR was 407. Significant progress has been made on skilled health personnel attending deliveries (from 25.5 percent in 1992-93 to 39.8 percent in 2002-03) but it is not sufficient to reach the goal.
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
According to MDG report for India by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) prevalence of HIV among Pregnant women aged 15-24 years is showing a declining trend from 2005 and it has declined from 0.89 % in 2005 to 0.39% in 2010-11. The malaria death rate has been reduced to 0.09 deaths per lakh in 2000 which further came down to 0.04 in 2012.
Ensure environmental sustainability
The target to integrate the principle of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources has been moderately on track according to the latest estimates. But the deadline for 2015 is too ambitious for the same.
Develop a global partnership for development
Lack of a clear metric on this goal makes measurement and policy framework a bit challenging but large scale surge in private partnership in the development process in the last few years suggest on track progress on this specific goal.