India has done well in eradicating poverty, improving healthcare
and primary education, but lax implementation of programmes has
been the main hurdle in achieving the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs), says a United Nations official, ahead of a high-level
summit next week.
"It is a mixed bag," Minar Pimple, MDG Asia-Pacific Regional
Director, told IANS in an interview.
"With seepage of funds and corruption, implementation of
programmes is the problem. It is not that we don't have doctors or
teachers; mobilising them to serve rural areas is the issue."
Pimple rebutted the views of some experts that India will miss
most of the targets as only five years are left until the 2015
"The statement that we are lagging behind in MDGs in not correct.
We have done well in many fields like eradicating poverty,
improving primary education and fighting diseases like AIDS,
malaria and TB," he said.
Ten years have passed since 192 UN member- nations signed the
Millennium Declaration that established the eight MDGs. These
include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving
universal primary education, promoting gender equality and
empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal
health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring
environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership
Over 150 heads of state or government will gather at the UN
headquarters in New York next week to assess the status of the
efforts to reach the MDGs targets and revitalise efforts to meet
the eight goals by the 2015 deadline.
"With the level of development India claims we should have done
better, but we must take a balanced look at the achievements and
failures. There are areas where we have done well, but in other
areas we have not done so
well," said the Bangkok-based Pimple, who was here to deliver a
lecture on the MDGs.
Pimple, who has worked for more than 30 years on issues of poverty
and socio-economic development in the region, said India has done
well with increasing allocations to social sector schemes.
"India is not aid-dependent any more. It has its own resources
which is growing with increased allocation for social programmes.
We have one of world's biggest social security programmes in the
form of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee
Scheme," he said.
"Legislative initiatives like right to information, right to
education, the under formulation food security bill, and the under
discussion right to health are the steps in right direction
towards achieving the development goals."
Pimple stressed that the programmes can never have the desired
results without community participation, especially of youth.
"More young people should come forward and spread awareness on the
MDGs and how they can be achieved."
According to the India Country Report 2009, the review report on
the development towards the MDGs, India lags far behind the goals
in reducing maternal and child mortality, sanitation and gender
"The year 2015 should not be an end to the MDG. They should not be
seen as numeric figures to be achieved. Even if we don't reach the
exact numbers, it will start a far-reaching journey for social
equality," added Pimple.
(Anjali Ojha can be
contacted at email@example.com)